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THE PALISER CASE 



BY EDGAR SALTUS 

HISTORIA AMORIS 

IMPERIAL PURPLE 

MARY MAGDALEN 

THE POMPS OF SATAN 

THE LORDS OF THE GHOSTLAND 

DAUGHTERS OF THE RICH 

In preparation 
SCAFFOLDS AND ALTARS 



THE PALISER CASE 



BY 



EDGAR SALTUS 




BONI AND LIVERIGHT 

NewYork 1919 



Then headlong down the stair of life he felly while up 
that stairway others laughed and mounted and all were 
drunken with the wine of youth. 



Copyright, 19 19, 
By Edgar Saltus 



Printed in the U.S.A. 



THE PALISER CASE 



THE murder of Monty Paliser, headlined that 
morning in the papers, shook the metropolis at 
breakfast, buttered the toast, improved the taste of 
the coffee. 

Murdered ! It seemed too bad to be false. More- 
over, there was his picture, the portrait of a young man 
obviously high-bred and insolently good-looking. In 
addition to war news and the financial page, what 
more could you decently ask for a penny? Nothing, 
perhaps, except the address of the murderer. But 
that detail, which the morning papers omitted, extras 
shortly supplied. Meanwhile in the minds of imagina- 
tive New Yorkers, visions of the infernal feminine 
surged. The murdered man's name was evocative. 

His father, Montagu Paliser, generally known as 
M. P., had lived in that extensive manner in which 
New York formerly took an indignant delight. Be- 
hind him, extending back to the remotest past when 
Bowling Green was the centre of fashion, always 
there had been a Paliser, precisely as there has always 
been a Livingston. These people and a dozen others 
formed the landed gentry — a gentry otherwise landed 
since. But not the Paliser clan. The original Paliser 
was very wealthy. All told he had a thousand dollars. 
Montagu Paliser, the murdered man's father, had 



2 THE PALISER CASE 

stated casually, as though offering unimportant infor- 
mation, that, by Gad, sir, you can't live like a gentle- 
man on less than a thousand dollars a day. That was 
years and years ago. Afterward he doubled his esti- 
mate. Subsequently, he quadrupled it. It made no 
hole in him either. In spite of his yacht, his racing 
stable, his town house, his country residences and 
formerly in the great days, or rather in the great 
nights, his ladies of the ballet, in spite of these inci- 
dentals his wealth increased. No end to it, is about 
the way in which he was currently quoted. 

All New Yorkers knew him, at any rate by repute, 
precisely as the least among us knows Mr. Carnegie, 
though perhaps more intimately. The tales of his 
orgies, of his ladies, of that divorce case and of the 
yacht scandal which burst like a starball, tales Vic- 
torian and now legendary, have, in their mere recital, 
made many an old reprobate's mouth champagne. But 
latterly, during the present generation that is, the in- 
effable Paliser — M. P. for short — who, with claret 
liveries and a yard of brass behind him had tooled 
his four-in-hand, or else, in his superb white yacht, 
gave you something to talk about, well, from living 
very extensively he had renounced the romps and 
banalities of this life. 

Old reprobates could chuckle all they liked over the 
uproar he had raised in the small and early family 
party that social New York used to be. But in club 
windows there were no new tales of him to tell. Like 
a potentate outwearied with the circumstance of State, 
he had chucked it, definitely for himself, and recently 
in favour of his son, Monty, who, in the month of 
March, 191 7, arrived from Havana at the family 
residence, which in successive migrations had moved. 



THE PALISER CASE 3 

as the heart of Manhattan has moved, from the neigh- 
bourhood of the Battery to that of the Plaza. 

In these migrations the Palisers had not derogated 
from their high estate. Originally, one of the first 
families here, the centuries, few but plural, had in- 
creased what is happily known as their prestige. Monty 
Paliser was conscious of that, but not unwholesomely. 
The enamellings that his father had added gave him 
no concern whatever. On the contrary. He knew 
that trade would sack the Plaza, as long since it had 
razed the former citadels of fashion, and he foresaw 
the day when the family residence, ousted from upper 
Fifth Avenue, would be perched on a peak of Wash- 
ington Heights, where the Palisers would still be 
among the first people in New York — to those coming 
in town that way. 

That result it was for him to insure. Apart from 
second cousins, to whom he had never said a word and 
never proposed to address, apart from them, apart too 
from his father and himself, there was only his sister, 
Sally Balaguine, who, one night, had gone to bed in 
Petersburg and, on the morrow, had awakened in 
Petrograd. Though, in addition to this much sur- 
prised lady, before whose eyes Petrograd subsequently 
dissolved into Retrograd and afterward into delirium, 
there was her son, a boy of three. Mme. Balaguine's 
prince did not count, or rather had ceased to. As 
lieutenant of the guards he had gone to the front 
where a portion of him had been buried, the rest hav- 
ing been minutely dispersed. 

To perpetuate the clan in its elder branch, there 
was therefore but this young man, a circumstance 
which, on his return from Havana, his father ad- 
vanced. 



4 THE PALISER CASE 

They were then at luncheon. For the father there 
was biscuit and milk. For the son there was an egg 
cooked in a potato. Yet, in the kitchen, or, if not 
there, somewhere about, were three chefs. Moreover 
on the walls were Beauvais. The ceiling was the spoil 
of a Venetian palace. The luncheon however simple 
was not therefore disagreeable. 

With an uplift of the chin, the elder man flicked a 
crumb and sat back. The action was a signal. Three 
servants filed out. 

Formerly his manner had been cited and imitated. 
To many a woman it had been myrrh and cassia. It 
had been deadly nightshade as well. After a fashion 
of long ago, he wore a cavalry moustache which, once 
black, now was white. He was tall, bald, very thin. 
But that air of his, the air of one accustomed to im- 
mediate obedience, yet which could be very urbane and 
equally insolent, that air endured. 

In sitting back he looked at his son for whom he had 
no affection. For no human being had he ever had 
any affection, except for himself, and latterly even that 
unique love had waned. 

The chefs, originally retained on shifts of eight 
hours each, in order that this man might breakfast 
or sup whenever he so desired, that he might break- 
fast, as a gentleman may, at four in the afternoon, or 
sup at seven in the morning, these chefs were useless. 
His wife, who had died, not as one might suppose of a 
broken heart but of fatty degeneration, had succumbed 
to their delicately toxic surprises with groans but also 
with thanksgiving. 

That is ancient history. At present her widower 
supped on powdered charcoal and breakfasted on bis- 
muth. The cooks he still retained, not to prepare these 



THE PALISER CASE 5 

triumphs, but for the benefit of his heir, for whom he 
had no affection but whom he respected as the next 
incumbent and treated accordingly, that is to say, 
as one gentleman treats another. 

On this high noon, when the servants had gone, the 
father sat back and looked at his son, who, it then oc- 
curred to him, astonishingly resembled his mother. He 
had the same eyes, too big, too blue; the same lashes, 
too long, too dark ; the same ears, too small and a trifle 
too far forward. In addition he had the same full 
upper-lip, the same cleft in the chin, the same features 
refined almost to the point of degeneracy. But the 
ensemble was charming — too charming, as was his 
voice, which he had acquired at Oxford where, at the 
House, he had studied, though what, except voice 
culture, one may surmise and never know. Men gen- 
erally disliked him and accounted the way he spoke, 
or the way he looked, the reason. But what repelled 
them was probably his aura of which, though unaware, 
they were not perhaps unconscious. 

His father motioned : 'Thank God, you are here. At 
any moment now we may be in it and you will have to 
go. You are not a divinity student and you cannot 
be a slacker." 

The old man paused and added: '^Meanwhile you 
will have to marry. If anything should happen to 
you, there would be but Sally and the Balaguine brat 
and I shouldn't like that. God knows why I care, but 
I do. There has always been a Paliser here and it is 
your turn now — which reminds me. I have made over 
some property to you. You would have had it any 
way, but the transfer will put you on your feet, besides 
saving the inheritance tax." 

"Thank you. What is it?" 



6 THE PALISER CASE 

'The Place, the Wall Street and lower Broadway 
property, that damned hotel and the opera-box. Jerolo- 
man wrote you about it. Didn't you get his letter?" 

*'I may have. I don't know that I read it." 

"When you have a moment look in on him. He will 
tell you where you are." 

''And where is that?" 

The old man summarised it. Even with the in- 
creased cost of matrimony, it was enough for a Mor- 
mon, for a tribe of them. But the young man omitted 
to say so. He said nothing. 

His father nodded at him. "You think marriage a 
nuisance. So it is. So is everything. By Gad, sir, 
I wish I were well out of it. I go nowhere — not even 
to church. I have grown thin through the sheer 
nuisance of things. But if nothing happens over 
there and you don't make a mess of it, the next twenty 
years of your life ought not to be profoundly disagree- 
able. Now I dislike to be a nuisance myself, but in 
view of the war, it is necessary that there should be 
another Paliser, if not here, at least en route." 

"I will think it over," said this charming young man, 
who had no intention of doing anything of the kind. 

"The quicker the better then, and while you are at 
it select a girl with good health and no brains. They 
wear best. I did think of Margaret Austen for you, 
but she has become engaged. Lennox his name is. 
Her mother told me. Told me too she hated it. Said 
you must come to dinner and she'd have a girl or two 
for you to look at. Oblige me by going. Plenty of 
others though. Girls here are getting healthier and 
stupider and uglier every year. By Gad, sir, I 
remember " 

The old man rambled on. He was back in the days 



THE PALISER CASE 7 

when social New York foamed with beauty, when it 
held more loveliness to the square inch than any other 
spot on earth. He was back in the days when Fifth 
Avenue was an avenue and not a ghetto. 

With an air of interest the young man listened. 
The air was not feigned. Yet what interested him 
was not the outworn tale but the pathological fact that 
the reminiscences of the aged are symptomatic of 
hardening of the arteries. 

Mentally he weighed his father, gave him a year, 
eighteen months, and that, not because he was anxious 
for his shoes, but out of sheer dilettantism. 

The idea that his father would survive him, that 
it was he who was doomed, that already behind the 
curtains of life destiny was staging his death — and 
what a death ! — ^he could no more foresee than he fore- 
saw the Paliser Case, which, to the parties subse- 
quently involved, was then unimaginable, yet which, at 
that very hour, a court of last resort was deciding. 

He looked over at his father. *Talmerston asked 
everybody, particularly when he didn't know them 
from Adam, 'How's the old complaint?' How is 
yours?" 

With that air that had won so many hearts, and 
broken them too, the old man smiled. 

"When I don't eat an3^hing and sit perfectly still, 
it is extraordinary how well I feel." 

How he felt otherwise, he omitted to state. A gen- 
tleman never talks of disagreeable matters. 



II 

TN the shouted extras that succeeded the initial news 
•^ of the murder, Margaret Austen was mentioned, 
not as the criminal, no one less criminal than the girl 
could be imagined, but as being associated with the 
parties involved. 

That was her misfortune and a very grievous mis- 
fortune, though, however grievous, it was as nothing 
to other circumstances for which she subsequently 
blamed herself, after having previously attributed them 
to fate, or rather, as fate is more modernly known, 
to karma. 

Any belief may console. A belief in karma not only 
consoles, it explains. As such it is not suited to those 
who accept things on faith, which is a very good way 
to accept to them. It may be credulous to believe that 
Jehovah dictated the ten commandments. But the 
commandments are sound. Moreover it is perhaps 
better to be wrong in one's belief's than not to have 
any. 

Margaret Austen believed in karma and in many re- 
lated and wonderful things. Her face showed it. It 
showed other things ; appreciation, sympathy, unworld- 
liness, good-breeding and that minor charm that beauty 
is. It showed a girl good to look at, good through and 
through; a girl tall, very fair, who smiled readily, 
rarely laughed and never complained. 

It is true that at the time this drama begins it would 



THE PALISER CASE 9 

have been captious of her to have complained of 
anything were it not that life is so ordered that it 
has sorrow for shadow. The shadow on this human 
rose was her mother. 

Mrs. Austen had seen worse days and never pro- 
posed to see them again. Among the chief assets of 
her dear departed was a block of New Haven. The 
stock, before collapsing, shook. Then it tripped, fell 
and kept at it. Through what financial clairvoyance 
the dear departed's trustee got her out, just in time, 
and, quite illegally but profitably, landed her in Stand- 
ard Oil is not a part of this drama. But meanwhile 
she had shuddered. Like many another widow, to 
whom New Haven was as good as Governments, she 
might have been in the street. Pointing at her had 
been that spectre — Want! 

It was just that which she never proposed to see 
again. The spectre in pointing had put a mark on 
this woman who was arrogant, ambitious and horribly 
shrewd. 

A tall woman with a quick tongue, a false front, an 
air of great affability and, when on parade, admirably 
sent out, she ruled her daughter, or thought she did, 
which is not quite the same thing. 

Margaret Austen was ruled by her conscience and 
her beautiful beHefs. These were her masters. This 
human rose was their lovely slave. But latterly a god 
had enthralled her. It was with wonder and thanks- 
giving that she recognised the overlordship of that 
brat of a divinity, whom poets call Eros, and thinkers 
the Genius of the Species. 

Mrs. Austen, who had danced many a time before 
his shrine, had no objection whatever to the godlet, 
except only when he neglected to appear Olympianly, 



lo THE PALISER CASE 

as divinity should, with a nimbus of rentrolls and 
gold. 

In view of the fact that he had come to Margaret in 
deshabille, that is to say without any discernible nim- 
bus, he affronted Mrs. Austen's ambitious eyes. 

Of that she said nothing to Margaret. But at din- 
ner one evening she summarised it to Peter Verelst 
who sat at her right. 

The room, which was furnished with tolerable taste, 
gave on Park Avenue where she resided. At her left 
was Monty Paliser. Farther down were Margaret, 
Lennox and Kate Schermerhorn. Coffee had been 
served. Paliser was talking to Miss Schermerhorn; 
Lennox to Margaret. 

''I don't like it," Mrs. Austen said evenly to Peter 
Verelst. "But what can I do?" 

Peter Verelst was an old New Yorker and an old 
beau. Mrs. Austen had known him when she was in 
shorter frocks than those then in vogue. Even as a 
child she had been ahead of the fashion. 

''Do ?" Verelst repeated. "Do nothing." 

"I am a snob," she resumed, expecting him to con- 
tradict her. "I did hope that Margaret, with her looks, 
would marry brilliantly." 

Peter Verelst bent over his coffee. "The young 
man next door?" 

Out of the corner of an eye Mrs. Austen glanced at 
Paliser and then back at Verelst. "Well, something 
of the kind." 

Verelst raised his cup. He had known Lennox' 
father. He knew and liked the son. For Margaret 
he had an affection that was almost — and which might 
have been — paternal. But, noting the barometer, he 
steered into the open. 



THE PALISER CASE ii 

*'Have Lennox here morning, noon and night. See 
to it that Margaret has every opportunity to get sick 
to death of him. Whereas if you interfere '' 

Mrs. Austen, as though invoking the saints, lifted 
her eyes. "Ah, I know! If I had not been inter« 
fered v^ith I would not have taken Austen. Much 
good it did me!" 

Verelst, his hand on the tiller, nodded. 'There 
you are! That locksmith business is very sound. 
Love revels in it. But give him his head and good- 
bye. Sooner or later he is bound to take to his heels, 
but, the more he is welcomed, the sooner he goes. The 
history of love is a history of farewells." 

Paliser, who had caught the last phrase, felt like 
laughing and consequently looked very serious. The 
spectacle of two antiques discussing love seemed to him 
as hilarious as two paupers discussing wealth. He 
patted his tie. 

*'Very interesting topic, Mrs. Austen." 

The woman smiled at him. "Love? Yes. How 
would you define it?" 

Paliser returned her smile. "A mutual misunder- 
standing." 

Mrs. Austen's smile deepened. "Would you like 
to have one?" 

"With your daughter, yes." 

Et moi done ! thought this lady, who, like others of 
our aristocracy, occasionally lapsed into French. But 
she said: "Why not enter the lists?" 

"I thought they were closed." 

"Are they ever?" 

But now Verelst addressed the too charming young 
man. "How is your father?" 

"In his usual poor health, thank you." 



12 THE PALISER CASE 

"What does he say about the war?'' 

''Nothing very original — that the Kaiser ought to 
be sent to Devil's Island. But that I told him would 
be an insult to Dreyfus, who was insulted enough. The 
proper place for the beast is the zoo. At the same 
time, the fellow is only a pawn. The blame rests on 
Rome — rests on her seven hills." 

Verelst drew back. In the great days, or more ex- 
actly in the great nights, he had been a pal of M. P. 
That palship he had no intention of extending to 
M. P.'s son, and it was indifferently that he asked: 
*'In what way?" 

Kate Schermerhorn, who had been talking to Mar- 
garet and to Lennox, turned. Lennox also had turned. 
Paliser had the floor, or rather the table. He made 
short work of it. 

''It was Caesar's policy to create a solitude and call 
it peace. That policy Rome abandoned. Otherwise, 
that is if she had continued to turn the barbarians into 
so many dead flies, their legs in the air, there would 
be no barbarian now on the throne of Prussia. There 
would be no Prussia, no throne, no war." 

You ought to write for the comic papers, thought 
Verelst, who said: "Well, there is one comfort. It 
can't last forever." 

With feigned sympathy Mrs. Austen took it up. 
"Ah, yes, but meanwhile there is that poor Belgium !" 

"By the way," Paliser threw in. "I have a box or 
two for the Relief Fund at the Splendor to-night. 
Would anybody care to go ?" 

Kate Schermerhorn, who looked like a wayward 
angel, exclaimed at it: "Oh, do let's. There's to be 
a duck of a medium and I am just dying to have my 
fortune told." 



THE PALISER CASE 13 

Verelst showed his handsome false teeth. "No 
need of a medium for that, my dear. Your path is 
one of destruction. You will bowl men over as you 
go." 

Kate laughed at him. **You seem very upright." 

Mrs. Austen turned to Margaret. "If you care to 
go, we might get our wraps." 

A moment later, when the women had left the 
room and the men were reseated, Verelst stretched a 
hand to Lennox. "Again I congratulate you and with 
all my heart." 

Keith Lennox grasped that hand, shook it, smiled. 
The smile illuminated a face which, sombre in repose, 
then was radiant. Tall and straight, hard as nails, he 
had the romantic figure. In a costume other than 
evening clothes, he might have walked out of a 
tapestry. 

With ambiguous amiability, Paliser smiled also. Al- 
ready Margaret's beauty had stirred him. Already it 
had occurred to him that Lennox was very invitingly 
in the way. 



Ill 



THE ballrooms of the Splendor, peopled, as Mrs. 
Austen indulgently noted, with Goodness knows 
who from Heaven knows where, received her and her 
guests. 

Not all of them, however. At the entrance, Verelst, 
pretexting a pretext, sagely dropped out. Within, 
a young man with ginger hair and laughing eyes, 
sprang from nowhere, pounced at Kate, floated her 
away. 

Mrs. Austen, Margaret, Lennox and Paliser moved 
on. 

In one room there was dancing ; in another, a stage. 
It was in the first room that Kate was abducted. On 
the stage in the room beyond, a fat woman, dressed in 
green and gauze, was singing faded idiocies. Beyond, 
at the other end of the room was a booth above which 
was a sign — The Veiled Lady of Yucatan. Beneath 
the sign was a notice: All ye that enter here leave 
five dollars at the door. 

The booth, hung with black velvet, was additionally 
supplied with hierograms in burnished steel. What 
they meant was not for the profane, or even for the 
initiate. Champollion could not have deciphered them. 
Fronting the door stood a young woman with a dark 
skin, a solemn look and a costume which, at a pinch, 
might have been Maya. 

In those accents which the Plaza shares with May- 

14 



THE PALISER CASE 15 

fair, she hailed Margaret. "Hello, dear! Your turn 
next." 

For a moment, the dark skin, the solemn look, the 
costume puzzled Margaret. Then at once she ex- 
claimed: "Why, Poppet!'' She paused and added: 
"This is Mr. Paliser — Miss Bleecker. You know Mr. 
Lennox." 

But now, from the booth, a large woman with high 
colour, grey hair and a jewelled lorgnette rushed out 
and fastened herself on the sultry girl. 

"Gimme back my money. Your veiled lady is a 
horror! Said I'd marry again!" 

She raised her glasses. "Mary Austen, as I'm a 
sinner! Go in and have your misfortunes told. How 
do do Margaret? Marry again indeed! Oughtn't 
I to have my money back ?" 

"Poppet ought to make you pay twice," Mrs. Aus- 
ten heartlessly retorted at this woman, the relict of 
Nicholas Amsterdam, concerning whom a story had 
come out and who had died, his friends said, of ex- 
posure. 

Mrs. Amsterdam turned on Paliser whom she had 
never seen before. "What do you say?" 

"I am appalled," he answered. 

She turned again. "There, Poppet, you hear that? 
Gimme back my money." 

But Miss Bleecker occupied herself with Lennox, 
who was paying for Margaret. 

Margaret entered the booth where a little old wo- 
man, very plainly dressed, sat at a small deal table. 
From above hung a light. Beside her was a vacant 
chair. 

"Sit there, please," the medium, in a low voice, told 
the girl. "And now, if you please, your hand.'' 



i6 THE PALISER CASE 

Margaret, seating herself, removed a glove. The 
hand in which she then put hers was soft and warm and 
she feared that it might perspire. She looked at the 
woman who looked at her, sighed, closed her eyes and 
appeared to go to sleep. Then, presently, her lips 
parted and in a voice totally different from that in 
which she had just spoken, a voice that was thin and 
shrill, words came leapingly. 

"You are engaged to be married. Your engage- 
ment will be broken. You will be very unhappy. 
Later, you will be thankful. Later you will realise 
that sorrow is sent to make us nobler than we were." 

With an intake of the breath, the medium started, 
straightened, opened her eyes. 

At the shock of it Margaret had started also. 
*'But '' 

The medium, in her former voice, low and gentle, 
interrupted. 

"I can tell you nothing else. I do not know what 
was said. But I am sorry if you have had bad news." 

Margaret stood up, replacing her glove. She knew, 
as we all know, that certain gifted organisms hear 
combinations of sound to which the rest of us are deaf. 
She knew, as many of us also know, that there are 
other organisms that can foresee events to which the 
rest of us are blind. But she knew too that in the 
same measure that the auditions of composers are not 
always notable, the visions of clairvoyants are not al- 
ways exact. The knowledge steadied and partially 
comforted, but partially only. 

At the entrance, Lennox stood with Miss Bleecker. 
A little beyond were Paliser and her mother. Mrs. 
Amsterdam, minus her money, must have rushed 
away. 



THE PALISER CASE 17 

Poppet Bleecker laughed and questioned : ''No hor- 
rors?" 

Lennox questioned also, but with his eyes. 

Margaret hesitated. Then she got it. Taking the 
girl's hand she patted it and to Lennox said, and 
hghtly enough : ''Do go in. I want to see if what the 
medium says to you conforms with what she said to 
me. 

Yet, however lightly she spoke, behind her girdle 
was that sensation which only the tormented know. 

Beyond on the stage, the fat woman, now at the 
piano, was accompanying a girl who was singing a 
brindisi. The girl was young, good-looking, unem- 
barrassed, very much at home. Her dress, a black 
chiffon, became her. 

Then, in a moment, as Lennox entered the booth, 
Margaret joined her mother and looked at the girl. 

''What is she singing?'' 

PaHser covered her with his eyes. '^Verdi's Segreto 
per esser felice — the secret of happiness. Such a 
sim.ple secret too." 

"Yes?" Margaret absently returned. She was look- 
ing now at the booth. Quite as vaguely she added: 
'Tn what does it consist?" 

'Tn getting what we do not deserve." 

There was nothing in that to offend. But the man's 
eyes, of which already she had been conscious, did 
offend. They seemed to disrobe her. Annoyedly she 
turned. 

Paliser turned with her. "Verdi's bric-a-brac is 
very banal. Perhaps you prefer Strauss. His dis- 
sonances are more harmonic than they sound." 

Now though there was applause. With a roulade 
the brindisi had ceased and the singer as though 



i8 THE PALISER CASE 

pleased, not with herself but with the audience, bowed. 
The fat woman twisting on her bench, was also smil- 
ing. She looked cheerful and evil. 

*'I do believe that's the Tamburini/' Mrs. Austen 
remarked. "I heard her at the Academy, ages ago." 
The usual touch followed. **How she has gone off!'* 

The fat woman stood up, and, preceded by the girl, 
descended into the audience. 

Margaret looked again at the booth. Lennox was 
coming out. He said a word to Miss Bleecker and 
glanced about the room. 

Margaret motioned. He did not notice. The girl 
who had been singing was bearing down on him, a 
hand outstretched and, in her face, an expression 
which Margaret could not interpret. But she saw 
Lennox smile, take her hand and say — what? Mar- 
garet could not tell, but it was something to which the 
girl was volubly replying. 

"Who's his little friend?" Mrs. Austen in her even 
voice inquired. "Mr. Paliser," she added. "Would 
you mind telling — er — my daughter's young man that 
we are waiting." 

Margaret winced. She had turned from Paliser 
and she turned then from her mother. 

Paliser, whom the phrase "my daughter's young 
man" amused, sauntered away. He strolled on to 
where Lennox stood with the girl. The fat woman 
joined them. 

Lennox must have introduced Paliser, for Margaret 
could see them all talking at once. Then Lennox again 
looked about, saw Margaret and her mother, and came 
over. 

"Who's your friend?" Mrs. Austen asked. 

Lennox' eyes caressed Margaret. Then he turned 



THE PALISER CASE 19 

to her mother. ''She is a Miss Cara. Cassy Cara her 
name is. I know her father. He is a violinist.'' 

And my daughter is second fiddle, thought Mrs. 
Austen, who said: ''How interesting!" 

With his sombre air, Lennox summarised it. "She 
is studying for the opera. The woman with her, 
Madame Tamburini, is her coach. You may have 
heard of her." 

"A fallen star," Mrs. Austen very pleasantly re- 
marked. Quite as pleasantly she added : "The proper 
companion for a soiled dove." 

The charm of that was lost. Margaret, who had 
not previously seen this girl but who had heard of her 
from Lennox, was speaking to him. 

"It was her father, was it?" Then, dismissing it, 
she asked anxiously : "But do tell me, Keith, what did 
the medium say?" 

"That I would be up for murder." 

Margaret's eyes widened. But, judging it ridicu- 
lous, she exclaimed : "Was that all?" 

"All !" Lennox grimly repeated. "What more would 
you have?" Abruptly he laughed. "I don't w^onder 
Mrs. Amsterdam wanted her money back." 

On the stage, from jungles of underwear, legs were 
tossing. The orchestra had become frankly canaille. 
Moreover the crowd of Goodness know's who had 
increased. A person had the temerity to elbow Mrs. 
Austen and the audacity to smile at her. It was the 
finishing touch. 

She poked at Margaret. "Come." 

As they moved on, a man smiled at Lennox, who, 
without stopping, gave him a hand. 

He was an inkbeast. But there was nothing com- 
mercial in his appearance. Ordinarily, he looked like 



20 THE PALISER CASE 

a somnambulist. When he was talking, he resembled 
a comedian. In greeting Lennox he seemed to be in 
a pleasant dream. The crowd swallowed him. 

"Who was that?" Mrs. Austen enquired. 

"Ten Eyck Jones.'' 

"The writer?" asked this lady, who liked novels, but 
who preferred to live them. 

Meanwhile Paliser was talking to Cassy Cara and 
the Tamburini. The latter listened idly, with her evil 
smile. Yet Paliser's name was very evocative. The 
syllables had fallen richly on her ears. 

Cassy Cara had not heard them and they would 
have conveyed nothing to her if she had. She was a 
slim girl, with a lot of auburn hair which was docked. 
The careless-minded thought her pretty. She was 
what is far rarer; she was handsome. Her features 
had the surety of an intaglio. Therewith was an air 
and a look that were not worldly or even superior, but 
which, when necessary as she sometimes found it, 
could reduce a man, and for that matter a woman, 
to proportions really imperceptible. 

A little beauty and a little devil, thought Paliser, 
who was an expert. But leisurely, in his Oxford voice, 
he outlined for her a picture less defined. "You re- 
mind me of something." 

With entire brevity and equal insolence, she re- 
turned it. "I dare say." 

"Yes. Of supper." 

"An ogre, are you?" 

Paliser, ruminating the possibilities of her slim 
beauty served Regence, smiled at this girl who did not 
smile back. "Not Nebuchadnezzar at any rate. 
Vegetarianism is not my forte. Won't you and 



THE PALISER CASE 21 

Madame Tamburini take potluck with me? There 
must be a restaurant somewhere/' 

The fallen star moistened her painted lips. "Yes, 
why not?'' 

Born in California, of foreign parents, she had 
neither morals or accent and spoke in a deep voice. 
She spoke American and English. She spoke the easy 
French of the boulevards, the easier Italian of the 
operatic stage. She never spoke of Tamburini. She 
left him to be imagined, which perhaps he had been. 

From the room they went on into a wide, crowded 
hall, beyond which was another room, enclosed in 
glass, where there were tables and palms. 

As they entered, a captain approached. There was a 
smell of pineapple, the odour of fruit and flowers. 
From a gallery came the tinkle of mandolins. Mainly 
the tables were occupied. But the captain, waving the 
way, piloted them to a corner, got them seated and 
stood, pad in hand. 

Paliser looked at Cassy Cara. She was hungry as 
a wolf, but she said indifferently: *'A swallow of any- 
thing." 

''One swallow does not make a supper," Paliser 
retorted and looked at the Tamburini who appeared 
less indifferent. 

"Ham and eggs." 

Without a quiver, the captain booked it. 

"Also," Paliser told him, "caviare, woodcock. Ruin- 
art." From the man he turned to the girl. "It was 
very decent of Lennox to introduce me to you." 

Cassy put her elbows on the table. "He could not 
be anything else than decent. Don't you know him 
well?" 

Paliser shrugged. "Our intimacy is not oppressive." 



22 THE PALISER CASE 

''He saved her father's Hit/' the Tamburini put in. 
"Her father is a musician — and authentically mar- 
quis/' she added, as though that explained everything. 
*'We are Portuguese/' said Cassy, *'or at least my 
father is. He used to play at the Metro. But he 
threw it up and one night, when he was coming home 
from a private house where he had been giving a con- 
cert, he was attacked. There were two of them. They 

knocked him down " 

''Before he had time to draw his sword-cane," the 
fat woman interrupted. 

"Yes," Cassy resumed, "and just then Mr. Lennox 
came along and knocked them down and saved his 
violin which was what they were after." 

"It's a Cremona," said the Tamburini who liked 
details. 

"But that is not all of it," the girl continued. "My 
father's arm was broken. He has not been able to 
play since. Mr. Lennox brought him home and sent 
for his own physician. He's a dear." 

"Who is?" Paliser asked. "The physician?" 
But now a waiter was upon them with a bottle 
which he produced with a pop! Dishes followed to 
which Cassy permitted the man to help her. Her 
swallow of anything became large spoonfuls of rich 
blackness and the tenderness of savorous flesh. She 
was not carnal, but she was hungry and at her home 
latterly the food had been vile. 

The Tamburini, with enigmatic ideas in the back of 
her head, ate her horrible dish very delicately, her 
little finger crooked. But she drank nobly. 

Paliser too had ideas which, however, were not 
enigmatic in the least and not in the back of his head 
either. They concerned two young women, one of 



THE PALISER CASE 23 

whom was patently engaged to Lennox and the other 
probably in love with him. The situation appealed 
to this too charming young man to whom easy con- 
quests were negligible. 

He had been looking at Cassy. On the table was a 
vase in which there were flowers. He took two of 
them and looked again at the girl. 

'^Sunday is always hateful. Couldn't you both dine 
with me here?" 

The former prima donna wiped her loose mouth. 
She could, she would, and she said so. 

Paliser put the flowers before Cassy. 

"Le parlate d'amor,'' the ex-diva began and, slightly 
for a moment, her deep voice mounted. 

Cassy turned on her. ''You're an imbecile." 

With an uplift of the chin — a family habit — Paliser 
summoned the waiter. While he was paying him, 
Cassy protested. She had nothing to wear. 

She had other objections which she kept to herself. 
If it had been Lennox she would have had none at all. 
But it was not Lennox. It was a man whom she had 
never seen before and who was entirely too free with 
his eyes. 

''Come as you are," said the Tamburini, who mas- 
sively stood up. 

Paliser also was rising. "Let me put you in a cab 
and on Sunday " 

Cassy gave him a little unsugared look. "You take 
a great deal for granted." 

Behind the girl's back the Tamburini gave him an- 
other look. Cheerful and evil and plainer than words 
it said : "Leave it to me." 

Cassy, her perfect nose in the air, announced that 
she must get her things. 



24 THE PALISER CASE 

Through the emptying restaurant PaHser saw them 
to the entrance. There, as he waited, the captain hur- 
ried to him. 

'^Everything satisfactory, sir?" 

'T want a private dining-room on Sunday." 

"Yes, sir. For how many?" 

'Two." 

**Sorry, sir. It's against the rules." 

PaHser surveyed him. '*Whom does this hotel be- 
long to? You?" 

The captain smiled and caressed his chin. **No, 
sir, the hotel does not belong to me. It is owned by 
Mr. PaHser." 

"Thank you. So I thought. I am Mr. PaHser. A 
private dining-room on Sunday for two." 

But now Cassy and the Tamburini, hatted and 
cloaked, were returning. The chastened waiter moved 
aside. Through the still crowded halls, PaHser ac- 
companied them to the street where, a doorkeeper as- 
siduously assisting, he got them into a taxi, asked 
the addresses, paid the mechanician, saw them ofif. 

Manfully, as the cab veered, the Tamburini swore. 

"You damn fool, that man is rich as all out- 
doors." 



IV 

THE house in which Cassy lived was what is agree- 
ably known as a walk-up. There was no lift, 
merely the stairs, flight after flight, which constituted 
the walk-up, one that ascended to the roof, where you 
had a fine view of your neighbours' laundry. Such 
things are not for everybody. Cassy hated them. 

On this night when the taxi, after reaching Harlem, 
landed her there and, the walk-up achieved, she let her- 
self into a flat on the fifth floor, a "You're late!" fil- 
tered out at her. 

It was her father, who, other things being equal, you 
might have mistaken for Zuloaga's ''Uncle.'' The lank 
hair, the sad eyes, the wan face, the dressing-gown, 
there he sat. Only the palette was absent. Instead 
was an arm in a sling. There was another difference. 
Beyond, in lieu of capricious manolas, was a piano 
and, above it, a portrait with which Zuloaga had noth- 
ing to do. The portrait represented a man who looked 
very fierce and who displayed a costume rich and un- 
usual. Beneath the portrait was a violin. Beside the 
piano w^as a sword-cane. Otherwise, barring a rose- 
wood table, the room contained nothing to boast of. 

''You're late," he repeated. 

His name was Angelo Cara. When too young to 
remember it, he had come to New York from Lisbon. 
With him had come the swashbuckler in oil. He grew 
up in New York, developed artistic tastes, lost the oil 

25 



26 THE PALISER CASE 

man, acquired a wife, lost her also, but not until she 
had given him a daughter who was named Bianca, a 
name which, after elongating into Casabianca, short- 
ened itself into Cassy. 

Meanwhile, on Madison Avenue, then unpolluted, 
there was a brown-stone front, a landau, other acces- 
sories, the flower of circumstances not opulent but easy, 
the rents and increments of the swashbuckler's estate, 
which by no means had come from Lisbon but which, 
the rich and unusual costume boxed in camphor, had 
been acquired in the import and sale of wine. 

The fortune that the swashbuckler made descended 
to his son, who went to Wall Street with it. There 
the usual cropper wiped him out, affected his health, 
drove him, and not in a landau either, from Madison 
Avenue, left him the portrait, the violin, the table and 
nothing else. 

But that is an exaggeration. To have debts is to 
have something. They stir you. They stirred him. 
Besides there was Cassy. To provide for both was the 
violin which in his hands played itself. For years it 
sufficed. Then, with extreme good sense, he fought 
with the Union, fought with Toscanini, disassociated 
himself from both. Now, latterly, with his arm in a 
sHng, the wolf was not merely at the door, it was in the 
living-room of this Harlem flat which Cassy had just 
entered. 

It was then that he repeated it. "You're late!'' 

For the past hour he had sat staring at things which 
the room did not contain — a great, glowing house ; an 
orchestra demoniacally led by a conductor whom he 
strangely resembled; a stage on which, gracile in the 
violet and silver of doublet and hose, the last of the 
Caras bowed to the vivas. 



THE PALISER CASE 27 

Then abruptly the curtain had fallen, the lights had 
gone out, the vision faded, banished by the quick 
click of her key. 

But not entirely. More or less the dream was al- 
ways with him. When to-day is colourless, where can 
one live except in the future ? To-day is packed with 
commonplaces which, could we see them correctly, are 
probably false for in the future only beautiful things 
are true. It is stupid not to live among them, par- 
ticularly if you have the ability, and what artist lacks 
it? In the future, there is fame for the painter, 
there is posterity for the poet and much good may it do 
them. But for the musician, particularly for the 
song-bird, there is the vertigo of instant applause. In 
days like these, days that witness the fall of empires, 
the future holds for the donna, for the prima donna, 
for the prima donna assoluta, the grandest of earthly 
careers. 

That career, Angelo Cara foresaw for his daughter, 
foresaw it at least in the hypnogogic visions which 
the artist always has within beck and call. In the 
falsifying commonplaces of broad daylight he was not 
so sure. Her upper register had in it a parterre of 
flowers, but elsewhere it lacked volume, lacked line, 
lacked colour, and occasionally he wondered whether 
her voice would not prove to be a voix de salon and not 
the royal organ that fills a house. Yet in the straw- 
berry of her throat, the orifice was wide, the larynx 
properly abnormal. In addition the Tamburini was 
prophetically comforting. 

But did the woman know her trade? He did not 
believe it. He believed though that she had no morals, 
never had had any, even as a child. It was the 
same way with Rachel and the fact left him cold. He 



28 THE PALISER CASE 

was artistically indifferent to what the putana did or 
omitted, to what anybody omitted or did. But any- 
body by no means included his daughter. At the 
thought of anything amiss with her, presto! his sad 
eyes flamed. Very needlessly too. Cassy was as in- 
different to other people's conceptions of decorum as he 
was himself. The matter did not touch her. Clear- 
eyed, clean-minded, she was straight as a string. 

*'How did it go ?" he asked. 

Cassy laughed. She had had a glass of champagne. 
She had too, what is far headier, the wine of youth. 

"Well, I didn't see any showmen tumbling over each 
other. Mr. Lennox was there. He asked after you, 
and introduced a man who had us out to supper. It 
was very good. I did so wish for you, poor dear." 

"What man? What is his name?" 

"Paliser, I think. Something of the kind. Ma 
Tamby told me." 

"Not old M. P.?" 

"Perhaps, I don't know. He has hair like a looking- 
glass. He did not seem old ; he seemed very impudent. 
Ma Tamby says he's rich as all outdoors." 

"That's the son then. Don't have anything to do 
with hinx They're a bad lot." 

"As if I cared! Ma Tamby said he could get me 
an engagement." 

"Ha! In vaudeville with acrobats and funny men 
and little suppers to follow." 

"Why not big ones?" 

"Big what?" 

"Big goose!" replied Cassy, who removed her 
gloves, took off her hat, ran a pin through it, put it 
down. 

Her father stared. Behind the girl stood a blonde 



THE PALISER CASE 29 

brute whom the supper had evoked. He wore a scowl 
and a bloody apron. In his hand was a bill. Behind 
him was the baker, the candlestickmaker. Behind 
these was the agent, punctual and pertinacious, who 
had come for the rent. Though but visions, they were 
real. Moreover, though they evaporated at once, 
solidly they would return. He had been staring at 
her, and through her, at them. In staring his eyes 
filled. Immediately they leaked. 

Cassy bit her lip. The tumbril and the guillotine 
would not have made her weep. Dry-eyed she would 
have gone from one to the other. Besides, what on 
earth was he wowing about? But immediately it oc- 
curred to her that he might be experiencing one of 
the attacks to which he was subject. She leaned over 
him. ''You poor dear, is it your heart?" 

He brushed his eyes. Dimly they lighted. With 
artistic mobility his face creased in a smile. "No, 
farther down." 

Cassy moved back. "What in the world '' 

But now his face clouded again. "I am glad you 
had supper. To-morrow we'll starve." 

The exaggeration annoyed her, she exclaimed at it 
and then stopped short. Already she had envisaged 
the situation. But it was idle, she thought, to excite 
him additionally. 

"Well?" he almost whinnied. 

But as he would have to know, she out with it. 
"There's the portrait, there's the violin. Either would 
tide us over." 

In speaking she had approached him again. He 
shoved her aside. With a jerk he got to his feet, 
struck an attitude, tapped himself on the breast. 

"I, Marquis de Casa-Evora, sell my father's picture ! 



30 THE PALISER CASE 

I, Angelo Cara, sell my violin ! And you, my daugh- 
ter, suggest such a thing! But are you my daughter? 
Are you — oh !" 

It trailed away. The noble anger, real or assumed, 
fell from him. No longer the outraged father, he was 
but a human being in pain. 

Cassy hurried to the mantel where, in provision of 
these attacks, were glass tubes with amyl in them. She 
took and broke one and had him inhale it. 

Then, though presently the spasm passed, the wolf 
remained. But the beast had no terrors for Cassy. 
Buoyant, as youth ever is, his fangs amused her. They 
might close on her, but they would not hurt, at any 
rate very much, or, in any case, very long. Mean- 
while she had had supper and for the morrow she had 
a plan. That night she dreamed of it. From the 
dream she passed into another. She dreamed she was 
going about giving money away. The dream of a 
dream, it was very beautiful, and sometimes, to ex- 
ceptional beings, beautiful dreams come true, not in the 
future merely, but in a walk-up. 



V 

TN Park Avenue that night there was no dramatic 
•*- father in waiting. There were no bills, no scenes, 
no thought of secret errands; merely a drawing-room 
in which a fire was burning and where, presently, 
Margaret and Lennox were alone. 

"I have letters to write," Mrs. Austen told them. 

She had no letters to write, but she did have a thing 
or two to consider. What the wolf was to Cassy's 
father, Lennox was to her. 

At dinner, Peter Verelst's advice to do nothing had 
seemed strategic. At the Splendor, it had seemed 
stupid. The spectacle of that girl hobnobbing with 
Lennox had interested her enormously. If a spectacle 
can drip, that had dripped and with possibilities which, 
if dim as yet, were none the less providential, particu- 
larly when viewed spaciously, in the light of other 
possibilities which Paliser exhaled. Mrs. Austen was 
a woman of distinction. You had only to look at her 
to be aware of it. Yet, at the possible possibilities, 
she licked her chops. 

Meanwhile, with the seriousness of those to whom 
love is not the sentiment that it once was, or the sensa- 
tion that it has become, but the dense incarnate mys- 
tery that it ever should be, Margaret and Lennox were 
also occupied with the future. 

In connection with it, Lennox asked : "Can you come 
to-morrow ?'' 

31 



32 THE PALISER CASE 

As he spoke, Margaret released her hand. Her 
mother was entering and he stood up. 

*'Mrs. Austen/' he resumed, ''won't you and Mar- 
garet have tea at my apartment to-morrow?" 

He would have reseated himself but the lady saw 
to it that he did not. 

"You have such pleasant programmes, Mr. Lennox. 
You are not going though, are you? Well, if you 
must, good-night." 

It was boreal, yet, however arctic, it was smiling, 
debonair. As such, Lennox had no recourse but to 
accept it. He bent over Margaret's hand, touched two 
of Mrs. Austen's fingers. In a moment, he had gone. 

Mrs. Austen, smiling still, sat down. 

''Nice young man. Very nice. Nice hats, nice ties, 
nice coats. Then also he is a theosophist, I suppose, 
or, if not, then by way of becoming one. What more 
could the heart desire? Would you mind putting 
out one of those lights? Not that one — the other." 

Gowned in grey which in spite of its hue contrived 
to be brilliant, Mrs. Austen rustled ever so slightly. 
Always a handsome woman and well aware of it, she 
was of two minds about her daughter's looks. They 
far surpassed her own and she did not like that. On 
the other hand they were an asset on which she 
counted. 

She rustled, quite as slightly again. 

"And such a taking way with him! That little 
singing-girl whom we saw to-night, quite a pretty 
child, didn't you think? She seemed quite smitten. 
Then there are others, one may suppose. Yes, cer- 
tainly, a very nice young man." 

"Mother!" 

"Well, what? Young men will be young men. 



THE PALISER CASE 33 

Only a theosophist could imagine that they would be 
young girls. I make every allowance from him — ^as 
doubtless he does for others. This is quite as it should 
be. I have no patience with model young men. Model 
young men delight their mothers' hearts and ruin 
their wives' temper. They remodel themselves after 
marriage. Whereas a young man who is not model at 
all, one who has had his fling beforehand, settles down 
and becomes quite fat. You have chosen very wisely, 
my dear. If you had waited you might have had 
Paliser and I should not have liked that. He is too 
good." 

Margaret stretched a hand to the fire. She was not 
cold and the movement was mechanical. But she made 
no reply. In Matthew we are told that for every 
idle word we utter we shall answer at the day of 
judgment. That passage she had longly meditated. 
She did not believe that Matthew wrote it and she did 
not believe in a day of judgment. Matthew was a 
peasant who spoke Syro-Chaldaic. It was not sup- 
posable that he could write in Greek. It was not sup- 
posable that there can be a specific day of judgment, 
since every moment of our days is judged. But 
through Margaret had her tolerant doubts, she knew 
that the message itself was sound. It did not con- 
demn evil and vulgar words, for they condemn them- 
selves. What it condemned was idle words and she 
regretted that her mother employed them. But theos- 
ophy is, primarily, a school of good manners. The 
Gospel condemns idle words, theosophy forbids dis- 
agreeable ones. 

To her mother's remarks, she made therefore no 
reply. Instead, she changed the subject. 



34 THE PALISER CASE 

"Will you care to go with me to his rooms to- 
morrow ?" 

With a mimic of surprise and of gentle remon- 
strance that was admirably assumed, Mrs. Austen 
lifted a hand. 

"But, my dear! Were you thinking of going 
alone?'' 

The remonstrance, however gentle, was absurd and 
she knew it. Margaret could go where she liked. It 
would all be chaste as a piano-recital. But the flea 
that she had been trying to put in the girl's ear seemed 
very ineffective. She is just as I was at her age, 
thought this lady, who, in so thinking, flattered herself 
extraordinarily. 

She shook her head. "For if you were, it would 
not do. Such things may pass in London, they don't 
here. But to-morrow is Saturday, isn't it? Yes, to- 
morrow is Saturday. At three I have an appointment 
with the dentist. I'll telephone though. That always 
pains them and, where a dentist is concerned, I do 
think turn about is fair play." 

It was pleasantly said. To make it pleasanter, she 
stood up and added: "Are you to sit here and read? 
There is a French book lying around somewhere that 
belonged to your dear father. I don't remember who 
wrote it and I have forgotten the title, but you are 
sure to like it. There ! I have it. It is called : ^L'art 
de tromper les femmes.' " 

Mrs. Austen moved to the door and looked back. 

"But if you don't find it readily, let it go for to- 
night. Your young man is sure to have a copy. No 
nice young man is without one." 



VI 

LENNOX was a broker, a vocation which he prac- 
tised in Wall Street. Early on the following 
afternoon, while returning from there, he sat wedged 
between a gunman and a Hun. He was unconscious 
of either. The uncertain market; the slump, mo- 
mentarily undiscernible, but mathematically inevitable ; 
customers, credulous or sceptical, but always avid; 
the pulse of the feverish street which the ticker indif- 
ferently registered; the atmosphere of tobacco and 
greed; the trailing announcements; ''Steel, three- 
fourths; Pennsy, a half,'' these things were forgot- 
ten. The train crashed on. Of that too he was un- 
conscious. 

Before him a panorama had unrolled — the day he 
first saw her, the hour he first loved her, the moment 
he first thought she might care for him — the usual 
panorama that unfolds before any one fortunate 
enough to love and to be loved in return. 

"Grand Central!" 

The gunman disappeared, the Hun had gone, the 
car emptied itself on a platform from which it was 
at once refilled. Lennox ascended the stair, reached 
the street, boarded a taxi, drove to his home. 

The latter, situated on the ground floor of an apart- 
ment house a step from Park Avenue, was entirely 
commonplace, fitted with furniture large and ugly, 

35 



36 THE PALISER CASE 

yet minutely relieved by a photograph which showed 
the almost perfect oval of Margaret's almost perfect 
face. 

The photograph stood on a table in the sitting-room 
beyond which extended other rooms that, in addition 
to being ugly, were dark. But Lennox had no de- 
grading manias for comfort. Pending the great day 
he camped in these rooms, above which, on an upper 
storey was a duplex apartment which, if Margaret 
liked, he proposed to take. 

It was for her opinion regarding it that he had 
asked her to come. In the forenoon she had tele- 
phoned that she and her mother would both be with 
him. He had instructed his servant accordingly and 
now a silver tea-service that had belonged to his 
grandmother and which, being Victorian, was hideous, 
gleamed at him as he entered the rooms. 

Something else gleamed also. On a rug, a puddle 
of sunlight had spilled. 

Above, on the embossed platter, were petits fours, 
watercress sandwiches, a sack of sweetmeats, a bunch 
of violets, a scatter of cups. Beneath was the puddle. 

Lennox looked. It seemed all right. 

Harris, his servant, a little man, thin as an um- 
brella, sidled silently by. The vestibule took him. 
From it came the sound of a voice, limpid, clear, which 
Lennox knew and knew too was not Margaret's. 

'*A lady to see you, sir," Harris, reappearing and 
effacing himself, announced. 

The doorway framed her. There, with her shock 
of auburn hair, her cameo face, her slim figure and 
her costume which, though simple, was not the ruin- 
ous simplicity that Fifth Avenue achieves, Cassy pre- 
sented a picture very different from that on the table, 



THE PALISER CASE 37 

a picture otherwise differentiated by a bundle that was 
big as a baby. 

Lennox did not know but that it might contain a 
baby and the possibiHty alarmed this man who was 
afraid of nobody. 

*'Hello!" he exclaimed. 

In exclaiming, he stared. He liked the girl. But at 
the moment she was in the way. Moreover, why she 
had come to these rooms of his, where she had not 
been invited, and where she had not ventured before, 
was a mystery. 

*'How's your father?'' he added. 

There are people, as there are animals, that cannot 
be awkward and are never ridiculous. Cassy was one 
of them. None the less she stood on one foot. The 
tea-table had become very talkative. It told her that 
it was expecting somebody ; that watercress sandwiches 
were not for her ; no, nor Victorian horrors either. 

"Be off!" it shouted. 

*^Sit down," said Lennox. 

Cassy, hugging the bundle, remained in the door- 
way. It was not the tea-table merely, but something 
else, the indefinable something which one may feel 
and not describe that was telling her to hurry. After- 
ward, with that regret which multiplies tears and 
subtracts nothing, she wished she had hurried, wished 
rather that she had not come, wished that she had 
defied the wolf, outfaced the butcher, done anything 
except enter these rooms. 

She shifted the bundle. "I have been gadding about 
in Wall Street. I never was there before, but it is so 
nice and windy I may go there again. This is just a 
good-day and good-bye." 



38 THE PALISER CASE 

As she spoke she turned, and as she turned Lennox' 
heart smote him. He hurried to her. 

*'See here ! You can't go Hke this. Have a cup of 
tea." 

Cassy gave him the rare seduction of her smile. 
"Thank you. I am out on business and I never drink 
in business hours." 

But now Lennox had got himself between her and 
the vestibule. 

''Business!" he repeated. "'What is it? Anything 
in my line? Let's transact it here. Wall Street is no 
place" — for a pretty girl he was about to say but, de- 
sisting, he substituted — "for you." 

"But you are expecting people." 

"How in the world did you know? Anyway, they 
are not here yet and if they were they would be glad 
to meet you." 

"I wonder!" said Cassy, whose wonder concerned 
not their pleasure but her own, and concerned it be- 
cause she hated snobs, among whom she knew that 
Lennox moved. 

"Now, tell me," he resumed. 

Cassy, realising that it must be then or never, looked 
up at him. 

"You remember father's violin?" 

"I should say I did." 

"Well, my business in Wall Street was to offer it 
as — what do you call it? — as collateral." 

Lennox indicated the bundle. "Is that it?" 

Cassy nodded. "I had to hide it and smuggle it 
out without his knowing it. He thinks it stolen. If 
he knew, he would kill me. As it is, he has gone 
crazy. To quiet him, I said I would go to the police." 

Lennox laughed. "And I am the police !" 



THE PALISER CASE 39 

*'Yes, you're the police." 

"All right then. The police have recovered it. Take 
it back to him. How much do you need? Will a 
hundred do?'' 

That was not Cassy's idea. She shook her docked 
head at it. ''You're the police but I am a business 
man. If you make the loan, you must keep the col- 
lateral." 

*'You are a little Jew, that's what you are," Len- 
nox, affecting annoyance, replied. 

Cassy smiled, '1 like your jeu d'esprit. But not 
well enough to accept money as a gift." 

''Good Lord!" Lennox protested. "Look here! I 
am not giving money away. I don't mean it as a gift. 
Pay me back whenever you like. Until then, what do 
you expect me to do with that thing? Give serenades? 
No, take it back to your father. I know just how he 
feels about it. He told me." 

Cassy shifted the bundle. "Good-bye then." But 
as he still blocked the way, she added : "Will you let 
me pass ?" 

Moralists maintain that a man should never argue 
with a woman, particularly when she is young and 
good-looking. He should yield, they assert. Cassy's 
youth and beauty said nothing audible to Lennox. 
They said nothing of which he was then aware. In 
addition he was not a moralist. But there are influ- 
ences, as there are bacilli, which unconsciously we 
absorb. For some time he had been absorbing a few. 
He did not realise it then. When he did, he was in 
prison. That though was later. At the moment he 
threw up his hands. 

"I surrender. Will you mind putting it down some- 
where?" 



40 THE PALISER CASE 

Cassy turned. Beyond was a table and near it a 
chair to which she went. There she dumped the 
vioHn. In so doing she saw Margaret's picture. 

''What a lovely girl!'' 

Lennox, who had followed, nodded. ''That is Miss 
Austen to whom I am engaged." 

"Oh !" said Cassy. She did not know that Lennox 
was engaged. But suddenly the room had become un- 
comfortably warm and she blurted it: "How happy 
she must be!" 

At the slip, for he thought it one, Lennox laughed. 

"You mean how happy I must be," exclaimed this 
rare individual to whom the verb to be happy had a 
present tense, yet one which even then it was losing. 

He had been fumbling in a pocket. From it he 
drew a wad of bills, fives and tens, and made another 
wad. "Here you are. I will mail you a receipt for 
the collateral." 

Cassy, taking the money in one hand, extended the 
other. "May I say something?" 

"Why, of course." 

Cassy could talk and very fluently. But at the mo- 
ment she choked. What is worse, she flushed. Con- 
scious of which and annoyed at it, she withdrew her 
hand and said: "It's so hot here!" 

Lennox looked about, then at her. "Is it? Was 
that what you wanted to say?" 

Cassy shook herself. "No, and it was very rude 
of me. I wanted to thank you. Good-bye, Mr. Po- 
liceman." 

"Good-bye," he threw after the girl, who, in leav- 
ing the room, must have taken the sunlight with her. 
As she passed over the rug, the puddle passed too. It 
followed her out like a dog. 



THE PALISER CASE 41 

That phenomenon, to which Lennox then attached 
no significance, he afterward recalled. For the mo- 
ment he busied himself with pen and ink. Presently 
he touched a button. 

From regions beyond the little old man appeared. 

Lennox motioned at the bundle. *'Take that to 
this address. Ask for Mr. Cara and say it comes 
from the police. From the police, don't forget, Har- 
ris." 

'Til not forget, sir." 

''And go now. When the ladies come, I'll open the 
door." 

As it happened, only shadows came. The shadows 
lengthened. They lapped the floor, devoured the sil- 
ver, turned the rug into a pit, the room into darkness. 
Apart from shadows, no one came, no one rang. 
But, though Lennox was unaware of it, two people 
did come, and of the two one would have rung, had 
not the other prevented. 

Lennox did not know that. On the inaccessible 
planes where events are marshalled, it was perhaps 
prearranged that he should not. 



VII 

TVyTARGARET, on her way to Lennox that after- 
^^^ noon, wondered whether it might not be pos- 
sible for them to live elsewhere. 

Born and bred in the sordid hell with a blue sky that 
New York was before the war, latterly the sky itself 
had darkened. The world in which she moved, dis- 
tressed her. Its parure of gaiety shocked. Those 
who peopled it were not sordid, they were not even 
blue. Europe agonised and they dined and danced, 
displayed themselves at the opera, summarised the 
war as dreadful, dismissed it, gossiped and laughed. 
It was that attitude which distressed this girl who, 
had she been capable of wishing ill to any one, might 
have wished them treated as were the elegantes of 
Brussels, 

Margaret had no such evil wish. , But she did hope 
that when married, she might reside elsewhere. 

*'There goes that Mrs. Tomlinson,'' said her mother. 
"'Last night at the Bazaar — what do you suppose ? She 
asked me to dinner. She actually did ! The woman 
must be mad.'' 

Margaret made no reply. Park Avenue was very 
bright. To her also for the moment the scientific 
savagery of the Huns was remote. The brightness 
of the April day was about her. 

'T am in rags," continued Mrs. Austen, who was 

42 



THE PALISER CASE 43 

admirably dressed. "On Monday I must really look 
in on Marguerite. She is an utter liar, but then you 
feel so safe with her. Where is it that your young 
man lives? Somebody said that lies whiten the teeth. 
It must be there, isn't it? Or is it here? These 
places all look alike, none of them seems to have any 
numbers and that makes it so convenient.'' 

They had reached a chalk clifif, on the face of which 
were windows, balconies and, at the base, two low 
steps. On the upper step, in large black letters, was 
the cliff's name. 

Through glasses, which she did not need, Mrs. 
Austen surveyed it. *'The Sandringham! Why not 
The Throne?" 

Margaret went on and up. Mrs. Austen followed. 
At once they were in a large, marble-flagged hall. 
Beyond, from a lift, a boy in green and gilt, peered 
greedily. At the left was a door with a brass plate 
that said: ''Dr. Winship." Opposite was another 
door with another plate on which was "Lennox." 

That, also, Mrs. Austen surveyed. "I did not know 
your young man was an earl, but perhaps he is merely 
a duke. Shall we send that boy or do we ring? In 
bachelor quarters one hardly knows what to do — or 
what goes on in them either," she immediately and 
suggestively added. 

The door at the right had opened. Cassy was com- 
ing out. The flush was still on her face and in her 
hand was the money. Mechanically she thumbed it. 
She had looked down at the roll of bills and through 
them at the butcher, the baker, the candlestickmaker. 
She looked up and saw Margaret whose photograph 
she had seen a moment before. Instantly she recog- 
nised her. Instantly she realised that it was for her 



44 THE PALISER CASE 

the violets and the sack of bonbons were waiting. As 
quickly she understood why the teapot had shouted: 
''Be ofif!" 

From Margaret she glanced at Mrs. Austen, who 
was well worth it. In and about her eyes and mouth 
there was an expression of such lofty aloofness, an 
air of such aristocratic disdain, that though she stood 
without motion, movement, or gesture; though, too, 
there was no draught, the skirt of her admirable frock 
seemed to lift and avert itself. It was the triumph of 
civilised life. Yet that triumph she contrived to 
heighten. Raising the glasses which she did not need, 
she levelled them at Cassy. 

Cassy, who had but glanced at her, arrested the 
glance and, for a second, held it on her, but with an 
unconcern so obliterating that it had the effect of blot- 
ting-paper. Mrs. Austen felt herself disappearing. 
It was as though Cassy had looked at her and had 
seen nothing whatever. 

And that to Mrs. Austen! The lady squirmed but 
she rallied, the more readily perhaps since now Cassy 
had gone, and she said and pleasantly enough : ''What 
a charming vestal! Such an engaging manner! 
Seemed, too, so at home! Let me see? It was she, 
was it not, who was singing last night? Rather a 
coincidence, don't you think?'' 

Margaret made no reply. The incident, though long 
in the telling, had barely outlasted a moment, and 
crossing the hall, she was approaching Lennox' door. 

Without haste, Mrs. Austen circumvented her. 
"Not to-day, my dear. As it is, it is fortunate we 
came on foot. Otherwise, it would have been awk- 
ward and that is always so distressing. Another day." 

Quietly, easily she had got herself in front of Mar- 



THE PALISER CASE 45 

garet who, without shoving, could not reach the bell. 

With candid eyes she looked at her mother. "You 
seem to be suggesting '' 

'Terish the thought!" Mrs. Austen sweetly and 
quickly cut in. "I would not even suggest that one 
and two make three, for perhaps they don't. No, my 
dear, I suggest nothing. I merely insist. To-day we 
must postpone our little visit and to-night, whei:i he 
comes, you can have it out with him. A lover's quar- 
rel! What more could you wish? But here now is 
the lift-boy. We must dissemble. It's quite like a 
play. 

*'No," she interrupted herself to remark at the ap- 
proaching, greedy and enquiring youth, '1 want noth- 
ing whatever except not to be engaged in conver- 
sation." 

"'Whachyer mean?" asked the boy, who, however, 
promptly blighted by her level stare, omitted to pur- 
sue it. 

She turned again to Margaret. "We will find a 
taxi at the corner. These first spring days are so 
enervating." 

Margaret faced her. "I am going in." 

The sight of Cassy issuing from Lennox' rooms had 
surprised her, as the unexpected will surprise. But in 
saying that she was going in, it was not at all for ex- 
planations. Explanations are for strangers. Love 
understands — or should understand, and Margaret 
divined that Cassy had come on some errand from her 
father, of whose waylaying and rescue Lennox had 
long since told her. 

"Will you please move a little?" she added. 

Mrs. Austen, after routing the boy, had lowered 
her glasses. She raised them again. "Look there!" 



46 THE PALISER CASE 

At the entrance were two women with a child be- 
tween them. On the stair was a man. The door 
marked ''Dr. Winship" had opened. The wide hall 
was suddenly full of people. 

Mrs. Austen lowered her lorgnette. ''Don't make 
a scene, my dear. At least, don't make one over my 
dead body." 

Resistance was easy, but to what end? Margaret 
felt that she could persist, insist, ring and go in, but 
now only to be accompanied by her mother's mocking 
and stilted sneers. The consciousness of that sub- 
tracted the brightness from the day, the pleasure from 
the visit. Then, too, that evening he would come. 
Then they would be alone. 

She turned. A moment more and both were in the 
street, where Mrs. Austen forgot about the taxi. 
Other matters occupied the good woman and occupied 
her very agreeably. She had been playing a game, 
and a rare game it is, with destiny. The stakes were 
extravagant, but her cards were poor. Then abruptly, 
in one of the prodigious shuffles that fate contrives, a 
hand, issuing from nowhere, had dealt her a flush. 
She purred at it, at the avenue, at the world, at her 
daughter. 

'T am so glad we are not going anywhere to-night." 
A car flew by, a gloved hand waved and the purr con- 
tinued. "Wasn't that Sarah Amsterdam? By the 
way, what did the medium tell you? Anything about 
a dark man crossing your path ? If not, it was very 
careless of her. But what was I talking about? Oh, 
yes, I am so glad we are to be at home. You can have 
a nice, quiet evening with your young man. Only, 
do you know, I wouldn't say anything about that little 
vestal. He might not like it. Men are so queer. They 



THE PALISER CASE 47 

hate to be misunderstood and to be understood makes 
them furious. No, I wouldn't mention it. But now 
isn't he as full of surprises as a grab-bag? I thought 
him a model of the most perfect propriety, and that 
only shows how wrong it is to judge by appearances.' 
Model young men always remind me of floor-walkers. 
Who was that that just bowed? Dear me, so it was, 
and he looked so down in the mouth he might have 
been a dentist. On Monday I really must go to my 
dentist. He does hurt terribly and that is so reassur- 
ing. You feel that you are getting your money's 
worth. Don't your teeth need attending to ? Ah, here 
we are at last ! God bless our home !" 

Entering the hall, she looked at a little room to the 
right in which the manager awed prospecting tenants. 
Usually it was empty. It was empty then. Mrs. 
Austen looked, passed on and, preceding Margaret, 
entered a lift that floated them to the home on which 
she had asked a blessing. 



VIII 

THE Italians have a proverb about waiting for 
some one who does not come. They call it 
deadly. Among the lapping shadows Lennox felt the 
force of it. But concluding that visitors had detained 
his guests, he dressed and went around a corner or 
two to the Athenaeum Club where usually he dined. 

In the main room which gives on Fifth Avenue, he 
found Ten Eyck Jones talking war. Jones was a 
novelist, but he did not look like one. There was 
nothing commercial in his appearance, which was that 
of a man half-asleep, except when he talked and then 
he seemed very much awake. He was not fat and 
though an inkbeast, he dressed after the manner of 
those who put themselves in the best hands and then 
forget all about it. But for Lennox he had a superior 
quality, he was a friend. With him was Harry Cantil- 
lon, who, the night before, had danced away with Kate 
Schermerhorn. Straddling an arm of Cantillon's 
chair was Fred Ogston, a young man of a type that, 
even before the war, was vanishing and which was 
known as about town. Adjacently sat Peter Verelst. 
Servants brought little decanters and removed others. 
In a comer an old man glared with envious venom at 
the liquors of which he had consumed too many and 
of which, at the price of his eyesight, he could con- 
sume no more. 

Jones waved at Lennox. "I have been telling these 

48 



THE PALISER CASE 49 

chaps that before they are much older they will be in 
khaki." 

"Houp !" cried Cantillon. He sprang up, ran to the 
arched entrance, where, lightly, without effort, he 
turned a somersault and was gone. 

The old man in the corner raised himself, shuffled 
to a table, sat down and wrote to the house committee. 
Such conduct could not be tolerated ! Having said it, 
he raised himself again and shuffled over with the 
letter to Dunwoodie, a lawyer with the battered face 
of a bulldog and a ruffian's rumpled clothes. 

Dunwoodie, instead of taking the letter, gave the 
old man a look, one look, his famous look, the look 
with which — it was said — ^he reversed the Bench. 
Angrily the old man turned tail, collided with Paliser, 
apologised furiously, damning him beneath his breath, 
damning Dunwoodie, damning the house committee, 
damning the club. 

*'Are you to dine here?" Jones asked Ogston, who 
swore gently, declaring that, worse luck, he was due 
at his aunt's. 

"But you are," Jones told Lennox. "Come on and 
ril make your hair stand on end." He turned : "And 
yours, too." 

Peter Verelst smoothed the back of his head. 
"Thank you, Ten Eyck. But such hair as I have I 
prefer should remain as it is." 

The two men went on and up intO' another room, 
spacious, high-ceiled, set with tables, where a captain 
got them seated, took their orders, carefully trans- 
mitted them to a careful waiter, an omnibus mean- 
while producing ice-water which Jones had promptly 
removed. 

He smiled at Lennox. "Who was the jeunesse you 



50 THE PALISER CASE 

and Paliser were talking to last night? She had been 
singing." 

Lennox unfolded a napkin. *1 thought you were to 
make my hair stand on end." 

''Well," said the novelist, who spoke better than he 
knew, ''she may make Paliser's. There's a young man 
with plenty of perspective. I saw him in London just 
before the deluge. He was then en route for the Mar- 
quesas. I envied him that. I envied him the vanilla- 
scented nights; the skies, a soHd crust of stars, and 
also, and particularly, the tattooed ghosts.. But I am 
forgetting your hair. Were you ever in Berlin?" 

Lennox scowled. "Yes. Once." 

"And once is too often. The last time I was there, 
I looked down the Wilhelmstrasse and it got up and 
threatened me. Barring the possibilities of future 
avatars, I shall not promenade there again. But I 
would give a red pippin, I would give two of them, to 
have been in Potsdam on that night, that cloudless 
night, the night in July, when in a room, gorgeous as 
only vulgarity could made it, there was sounded the 
crack of doom." 

Jones gestured and a waiter hurried to him. He 
motioned him away. 

"You can picture it, Lennox, or, if not, who am I 
to refuse my aid? At the doors were lackeys; at the 
gates were guards. Without and beyond, to the four 
points of the compass, an unsuspecting world slept, 
toiled, feasted, fasted, occupied with its soap-bubble 
hates and loves. But, in that room, saurians, with 
titles as long as your arm, were contriving a cataclysm 
that was to exceed the deluge. Since then, and though 
it be but through the headlines, you and I stand witness 
to events that no mortal ever saw before. That night. 



THE PALISER CASE 51 

in that room they were concocted. By comparison, 
what are the mythical exploits of Homer's warriors, 
the fabulous achievements of Charlemagne's paladins, 
the fading memories of Napoleon's campaigns? What 
are they all by comparison to a world in flames? 
Hugo, with his usual sobriety, said that Napoleon in- 
convenienced God. Napoleon wanted Europe. These 
gunmen want the earth. They won't get it. Hell 
IS their portion. But, while they were planning the 
crib-cracking, I would give a red pippin to have been 
in their joint that night. A little more trout?" 

Jones turned to the waiter. *Take it away and 
fetch the roast." 

He was about to give other orders, yet these Len- 
nox interrupted. 

''But look here. You spoke of an unsuspecting 
world. The Kaiser had been rattling the sabre for 
years. Everybody knew that." 

"'So he had," said Jones, who contradicted no one. 
"But England did not take him seriously, nor did this 
country either. Consequently, when the war began 
it was regarded as but another robber-raid which 
shortly would be over. That was an idea that every- 
body shared, even to the Kaiser, who afterward said 
that he had not wanted this war. Incredible as it may 
seem he spoke the truth. He did not want a war in 
which he would be tripped on the Marne, blocked on 
the Yser and foiled at Verdun. He wanted a war 
in which France would be felled, Russia rolled back, 
a war in which, over Serbia's ravaged corpse, his 
legions could pour down across the Turkish carpet 
into the realm where Sardanapalus throned, beyond 
to that of Haroun-al-Raschid, on from thence to 
Ormus and the Ind, and, with the resulting thralls 



52 THE PALISER CASE 

and treasure, overwhelm England, gut the United 
States, destroy civilisation and, on the ruins, set 
Deutschland iiber Alles!" 

''Hear! Hear!" said Lennox from between bites. 

Jones, after a momentary interlude with a fork, got 
back at it. ''That is what he wanted ! But to get it, 
he lacked one thing, one thing only. He had every- 
thing else, he had everything that forethought, inge- 
nuity and science could provide. The arsenals were 
stocked. The granaries were packed, the war-chests 
replete. Grey-green uniforms were piled endlessly in 
heaps. Kiel — previously stolen from Denmark, but 
then reconstructed and raised to the war degree — at 
last was open. The navy was ready. The army was 
ready. Against any possible combination of European 
forces, the oiled machine was prepared. In addition, 
clairvoyance had supplied the pretext and stupidity the 
chance. Petersburg was then in the throes of a gen- 
eral strike — which the Wilhelmstrasse had engineered. 
In Paris, the slipshod condition of the army had been 
publicly denounced. England and Ireland were nearly 
at each other's throats. Yet, had they been in each 
other's arms, the Kaiser was convinced that England 
would not interfere. Moreover in France, mobilisa- 
tion required weeks ; in Russia, months ; and even then 
the Russian army, otherwise unequipped, the Tsarina 
had supplied with two hundred Teuton generals. That 
woman used to exclaim at her resemblance to Marie 
Antoinette. She flattered herself. It is Bazaine whom 
she resembled. But where was I? Oh, yes. The 
opportunity was so obvious and everything so neatly 
prepared that, for good measure, the pretext was 
added. An archduke, sinister when living and still 
more sinister dead, was, by the Kaiser's orders, bombed 



THE PALISER CASE 53 

to bits and the bombing fastened on Serbia. Allied 
stupidity provided the opportunity, imperial fore- 
thought supplied the rest. Since highwayry began, 
never was there such a chance. On the last gaiter 
was the last button. The Kaiser lacked but one thing.'' 
Lennox shoved at his plate. "So you have said." 
Jones, abandoning his fork, repeated it. "One 
thing ! In Potsdam, on that cloudless July night, when 
the world, on which he proposed to batten, slept, toiled, 
feasted, fasted, occupied with its futile loves and hates, 
that thing must have occurred to him." 
*'Yes, but confound it, what was it?" 
Jones lit a cigar. ''Bernstorff said, or is said to have 
said — I do not count him among my acquaintances — 
that on that night this supercanaille showed symptoms 
of what I think I have seen described as vacillation. 
That IS quite on the cards. It bears out my theory. 
In any event the fellow had his ambitions. He wanted 
to descend into the red halls of history disguised. He 
might have succeeded. History is very careless and 
to-day barely recalls that at five o'clock on the morn- 
ing succeeding his marriage to a dowdy fat girl, he 
treated his regiment to a drill. The fact is uninter- 
esting and would be equally unimportant were it not 
for the note that it struck. Subsequently, when he 
leaped on the throne, he shouted that those who op- 
posed him he would smash. "There is no other law 
than mine"; he later announced — a fine phrase and 
yet but a modern variant of Domitian's : "Your god 
and master orders it." Incidentally, in addition to the 
Garter, an honorific which the Duke of Cambridge 
admirably summarised as "having, sir, none of the 
damned nonsense of merit about it," he had other dis- 
tinctions. He had — and has — uranomania, that is 



54 THE PALISER CASE 

to say, a flight of fancy in which the patient believes 
himself associated with God. He had also defilirium 
tremens, which manifested itself in those manoeuvres 
that are war's image and in which the troops defile. 
Yet, when it came to the real thing, it may be that this 
paradomaniac lacked the stomach. Apart from the 
Kruger incident, and one or two other indecencies, 
his observance of international etiquette was relatively 
correct. The lackeys of history might therefore have 
deodorised him. With a sow's ear a lot may be done. 
Have a cigar?" 

Lennox laughed. "I would prefer the point." 

'*Now, how greedy you are. Well then, here it is. 
On that fatidic night in July, this fellow was fifty- 
five." 

"What of it?" 

'^Everything. At his age Alexander had been dead 
twenty years." 

As Jones spoke he raised his hands. ''Spirit of the 
Great Sinner, forgive me ! This scrofulous dwarf has 
no kinship with thee! 

"No," Jones, dropping his hands, resumed. "None.' 
His kin are Herod, Caracalla, Attila, Genghis Khan, 
and Cloacus, Lord of Sewers. Those are his kin. To 
the shade of the Lampsacene, whom the world had 
forgotten; to that of Cloacus, whom civilisation had' 
ignored, subsequently he devoted the army. For the 
troops he invoked them. But that night the ghosts . 
of the others gave him pause. At his age, Caracalla, 
Attila, Genghis, were dead. They had died hideous, 
monstrous — but young. Herod alone may have 
seemed a promising saint to swear by, though, in the 
obscurities of Syrian chronology, even of him he could 
not be sure. The one kindred hyena who, at fifty-five, 



THE PALISER CASE ss 

had defied the world was Tsi An, the Chinese Empress, 
and he had helped to squelch her. Do you see it now ? 
To burglarise the world, this thug had every advan- 
tage. The police were asleep. The coast was clear. 
The jimmies and the dynamite sticks were ready. 
Even the dark lantern was packed. The kit was com- 
plete. He had everything. He lacked nothing, except 
the one essential — Youth ! The eyes of youth are clear. 
His were too dimmed to foresee that the allies '' 

Lennox was rising. 

Amiably Jones switched on and off again. *'Hold 
on a minute. You have not given me the "Who's Who 
of that young woman." 

In Lennox brain, instantly cells latent, alert, and of 
which he was entirely unconscious, functioned ac- 
tively. Before him Cassy stood. Beside her was an- 
other. This other, very lovely, was a saint. Yet, 
prompted still by the cells and equally unaware of it, 
it occurred to him that a lovely saint may resemble a 
vase that is exquisite, but unresilient and perhaps even 
empty. Whereas a siren, like Cassy 

Abruptly he caught himself up. The unawaited 
disloyalty into which he had floundered, surprised and 
annoyed him. He could not account for the delicate 
infidelity and perplexedly he looked at Jones who still 
was at it. 

''The diva I mean. The diva in duodecimo who sang 
at the Bazaar." 

Lennox shook himself and sat down again. Mod- 
estly then the thrice-told tale was repeated — Angelo 
Cara, a violin in one hand, a sword-cane in the other, 
trudging home. The attack, the rout, the rescue, the 
acquaintance with Cassy that ensued. 

Jones, absorbing the story, pigeonholed his memory 



56 THE PALISER CASE 

with the details which, sometime^ for copy purposes, 
might be of use. 

*'They are Portuguese," Lennox, rising again, con- 
cluded. 

Jones peered about. The great room was filled with 
members, eating, drinking, laughing, talking — talking 
mainly of nothing whatever. He motioned. '*Isn't 
that Cantillon over there with — of all people! — Dun- 
woodie?" 

Lennox looked and nodded. "Cantillon is in Dun- 
woodie's office. He asked me to give him my law 
business." Indifferently, with the air of one consider- 
ing the improbable, Lennox added : **Some day I may. 
Good-night." 

But in the night into which he then went, already 
that day was breaking. 



IX 

THAT same evening, as Lennox was leaving the 
club, Mrs. Austen, rising from the dinner-table, 
preceded Margaret into the drawing-room and looked 
at the clock, a prostrate nymph, balancing a dial on 
the soles of her feet. At the figures on the dial, the 
nymph pointed a finger. 

From the clock Mrs. Austen turned and exclaimed 
at the windows which she had already examined. 
"The jardinieres have not yet been attended to! It 
is inconceivable!" 

Margaret, who had seated herself, said: *'You 
might send for the manager." 

''He would only keep me waiting and then expect 
me to tell him what I wanted. He ought to know. 
Besides, I might have forgotten. It is very tiresome." 

Margaret stood up. 'T will tell him." 

With a click, Mrs. Austen unfurled a fan and, with 
another click, refurled it. "'No. I will see him my- 
self. I am quite in the humour." 

Margaret looked after her mother, who was leaving 
the room. The sudden tempest in a flowerpot sur- 
prised her. But the outer door closed. Margaret re- 
seated herself. Presently he would come and together 
they would make those plans that lovers make — and 
then unmake, unless, elsewhere, they have been made 
for them. 

Meanwhile she waited. The incident at the Sand- 

57 



58 THE PALISER CASE 

ringham, the sight of Cassy, her mother's facile insin- 
uations, these things had distressed her, because, and 
only because, they had prevented her from enjoying 
the innocent pleasure of the innocent visit to the rooms 
of her betrothed, whom she loved with a love that 
was too pure and too profound, to harbour doubt and 
suspicion and that evil child of theirs which jealousy 
is. Her faith was perfect. That faith showed in her 
face and heightened her beauty with a candour that 
should have disarmed her mother, who, in the hall be- 
low, was, at that moment, instructing a man and not 
about flower-boxes either. 

''Mr. Lennox, you may know him, by sight I mean, 
will be coming here shortly. Please have him shown 
into that room there." 

Mrs. Austen passed on. The little room at which 
she had glanced that afternoon received her — a hos- 
pitality in which a mirror joined. The latter wel- 
comed her with a glimpse of herself. It was like 
meeting an old friend. But no; a friend certainly, 
yet not an old one. Age had not touched this lady, 
not impudently at least, though where it may have 
had the impertinence to lay a finger, art had applied 
another, a moving finger that had written a parody of 
youth on her face which was then turning to some one 
behind her whom the mirror disclosed. 

In turning, she smiled. 

"It is so good of you, Mr. Lennox, to look in on 
me. The door-man told you about Margaret, did he 
not? No? How careless of him. The dear child has 
a headache and has gone to bed." 

''Has she?" said Lennox. He found but that. But 
at least he understood why Margaret had not come to 
his rooms. The headache had prevented her. 



THE PALISER CASE 59 

"It is nothing." Mrs. Austen was telling him. "To- 
morrow she will be herself again. Nice weather we 
are having." 

"Very," Lennox answered. 

As he would have said the same thing if Mrs. 
Austen had declared that the weather was beastly, 
the reply did not matter. It did not matter to her ; it 
did not matter to him. She was thinking of some- 
thing else and he was also. He was thinking of Mar- 
garet, wondering whether he might not go to her. 
Were it not for the strait- jacket that conventionality 
is and which pinions the sturdiest, he would have 
gone. He was a little afraid of Mrs. Austen, as an 
intelligent man sometimes is afraid of an imbecile wo- 
man. But his fear of her fainted beside the idea that 
if, disregarding the bagatelles of the door, he made 
his way to Margaret, she herself might not like it. 
That alone restrained him. Afterward he wished he 
had let nothing prevent him. Afterward he regretted 
it. It is the misery of life — ^and sometimes its re- 
ward — that regret should be futile. 

But, at the moment, grim and virile, a hat in one 
hand, a stick in the other, his white tie just showing 
between the lapels of his overcoat, already he was 
consoling himself. He had not seen Margaret in the 
afternoon, and he was not to see her this evening. No 
matter. The morrow would repay — that morrow 
which is falser than the former day. 

Pleasantly at him and at his thoughts, Mrs. Austen 
played the flute. "Won't you sit down?" In speak- 
ing, she sank on a sofa which she occupied amply. 

Lennox, shifting his stick, took a chair. Later, in 
one of those evil moods that come to the best, as well 
as to the worst, he wished he had brained her with it. 



6o THE PALISER CASE 

With the magic flute, Mrs. Austen continued : 'To- 
morrow is Sunday, is it not? You must be sure to 
come. Dear me! I can remember when everybody 
went to church on Sunday and then walked up and 
down Fifth Avenue. Fifth Avenue had trees then 
instead of shops and on the trees were such funny 
little worms. They used to hang down and crawl on 
you. The houses, too, were so nice. They all had 
piazzas and on the piazzas were honeysuckles. But I 
fear I am boasting. I don't really remember all that. 
It was my father who told me. Those must have been 
the good old days V 

Lennox again shifted his stick. "To-day I had 
hoped that you would look in on me.'' 

The flute caressed the strain. ''Yes. It was too 
bad ! We had quite counted on it. Bachelor quarters 
must be so exciting." 

"Well, not mine at any rate. They are rather 
dark." 

"But that must make them all the more exciting! 
Blindman's buff ! Hide and go seek ! What fun you 
must have with your friends romping about!" 

"My friends are too busy for that. Though to- 
day " 

"Yes?" 

Lennox hesitated. He knew that this woman took 
no interest in him whatever, but he had intended to 
tell Margaret about Cassy. 

Pleasantly Mrs. Austen prodded him. "Yes?" 

"Nothing of any moment. This afternoon. Miss 
Cara, the girl who sang last night, came to see me. 
You may remember I told you I knew her father." 

"It seems to me I do." 



THE PALISER CASE 6i 

^Things have not gone well there and I advanced 
her a trifle for him." 

Mrs. Austen unfurled her fan* It was all Honest 
Injun. She had not a doubt of it and never had. But 
if she had thought it a Sioux and Comanche story, it 
would have been the same to her. 

"I am sorry you did not meet her/' Lennox con- 
tinued. *'You might have lent her a hand." 

"Professionally, you mean?" 

"Yes." 

''I might have her sing here," replied Mrs. Austen, 
who would have seen Cassy hanged first. 

Lennox considered the picture: Mrs. Austen in 
the role of shepherdess, herding for Cassy's benefit the 
flock of sheep that society is. But the picture did not 
detain him. He stood up. 

"That would be very good of you. Please tell 
Margaret I am sorry she has a headache and that I 
will look in on her to-morrow." 

No you won't, thought Mrs. Austen, who said: 
"Yes, do." 

In a moment, when he had gone, she looked again 
in the mirror. It showed her a woman who would 
not steal, unless she could do so undetectably ; a wo- 
man who would not forge, because she did not know 
how. Crimes ridiculous or merely terrific she was 
too shrewd to commit. But there are crimes that the 
law cannot reach. There are cards, too, that fate may 
deal. 

After looking at the woman, she looked at the cards. 
They were dreamlike. Even so, they needed stacking. 
Mrs. Austen arranged them carefully, ran them up 
her sleeve and floated to the room where Margaret 
waited. 



62 THE PALISER CASE 

As she entered, Margaret turned to her. Her face 
had that disquieting loveliness which Spanish art gave 
to the Madonna, the loveliness of flesh eclipsed cer- 
tainly by the loveliness of the soul, but still flesh, still 
lovely. 

At sight of it Mrs. Austen experienced the admira- 
tion tinctured with the vitriol of jealousy that some 
mothers inject. Mrs. Austen had been a belle in the 
nights when there were belles but her belledom, this 
girl, who was not a belle, outshone. Yet the glow of 
it while necessarily physical had in it that which was 
moral. Unfortunately the radiance of moral beauty 
only those who are morally beautiful can perceive. 
Mrs. Austen was blind to it. It was her daughter's 
physical beauty that she always saw and which, though 
she was jealous of it, had, she knew, a value, pre- 
cisely as beauty had a value in Circassia where, before 
the war, it fetched as much as a hundred Turkish 
pounds. In New York, where amateurs are keener 
and beauty is more rare, it may run into millions. 

Commercially conscious of that, Mrs. Austen felt 
for the cards and carelessly produced one. 

''Do you know, I believe we are to have a shower. 
[Your young man got off just in time." 

Margaret, who had glanced at the prostrate nymph, 
looked at her upright mother. "Do you mean that 
Keith has come — and gone?" 

Mrs. Austen sat down and extracted another card. 
"My dear, when I went below he was coming in. 
We " 

Margaret, with her usual directness, interrupted. 
*'But he is coming back?" 

'That depends on you." 

^'On me? How? What do you mean?" 



THE PALISER CASE 63 

*That you must do as you like, of course. But if 
you elect to see him, for goodness' sake don't refer 
to it." 

''Refer to it!'' Margaret exclaimed. ''Refer to 
what?" 

*'The vestal whom we saw this afternoon." 

"I don't understand." 

Indulgently Mrs. Austen motioned. "It is hardly 
proper that you should." 

Margaret winced and coloured. "Your insinuation 
is horrible." 

Cheerfully Mrs. Austen smiled. Margaret's start, 
her heightened colour, her visible annoyance, these 
things comforted her. A grandee of Spain warmed 
his hands at the auto-da-fe. There are people just 
like him. There are people that take comfort in an- 
other's distress. Mrs. Austen did not know that she 
resembled them. She had nothing but Margaret's 
welfare in view. Nothing but that and her own. Her 
own though came first. 

She raised the fan. "My dear, you misjudge me. 
I always said that he is a good young man and I stick 
to it. He is good, far too good, too good to be true." 
With that, lowering the fan, she produced a trump. 
"Downstairs, a moment ago, he told me so." 

Margaret gasped. "He told you — he told you " 

"Precisely. That is just what he did tell me." 

Margaret straightened. "I don't believe it." 

Mrs. Austen waved at her. "Oh, I don't mean 
that he has deceived you. He has done nothing of 
the kind. It is you who have deceived yourself. That 
was to be expected. At your age I deceived myself 
quite as thoroughly. I thought your father a con- 
quering hero and he was merely a bore. Bvt he 



64 THE PALISER CASE 

pointed a moral, though he adorned no tale. He mar- 
ried to settle down. That is this young man's idea 
and I must give him credit for the fact that while he 
has not deceived you, he did deceive me. I thought 
him a tedious person; whereas, not a bit of it. He is 
exceedingly lively. If he keeps it up, his wife will 
be blessed among women. But that is just it. He 
won't keep it up. He swore he would not and I be- 
lieve him. He has turned over a new leaf. I can't 
cry over it, but it is really too bad.'' 

Margaret, who had straightened, stiffened. ''If I 
believed a word of what you tell me, I would forgive 
him entirely." 

Mrs. Austen, unprepared for that, leaned forward. 
''My dear, I had no idea you were so sensible." 

"'I would forgive entirely," Margaret continued. 
^'But I would never see him again." 
; How good that tasted! Mrs. Austen swallowed it 
contentedly. *'0f course you will see him. You are 
not going blind, I suppose. But when you do see him, 
it will be only decent of you to ignore the matter 
which is not a fit subject for you to discuss." 

Margaret, who had straightened and stiffened, now 
was rigid. ''1 certainly shall ignore it. It is not worth 
talking about." 

Mrs. Austen leaned back. *'Ah, my dear, how right 
you are. He could not tell you that he had loved 
wisely, it would not be very flattering. He could not 
say he had loved too well, for that would be embar- 
rassing. What a pretty frock you have on. Did 
Marguerite make it? Of course he could not It 
^vould not be nice at all. But to me he made a soiled' 
breast of it. Don't you think the skirt a bit too long? 
Stand up a minute." 



THE PALISER CASE 65 

Margaret coloured again. She coloured with a 
flush that put two red spots on her. She did not be- 
lieve it. She could not and would not. Yet credence, 
like the wind, bloweth where it listeth. 

Mrs. Austen, noting the spots, knew that the card 
had been well played and leisurely selected another. 

"Perhaps it is the way you are sitting. Yes, alto- 
gether it is quite ducky. I really must go to Mar- 
guerite on Monday. Don't let me forget about it or 
the dentist either. I shall have my hands full and my 
mouth also. The proper caper, too^ apparently. That 
little dollymop, whom we saw this afternoon, had her 
hands full. Did you notice the roll of bills that she 
was counting? Such an enjoyable occupation! But 
it won't last. You need not worry on that score. He 
had been paying her off. He assured me of that and 
so unnecessarily. Why, I saw the whole thing at a 
glance. Anybody but you would have seen it too. 
But you are so theosophically nearsighted. It was for 
that reason I took you away. Now, though, he is 
going to begin on a clean slate. Those were his very 
words, and you, I suppose, are the clean slate. He 
has such original expressions, hasn't he? But there! 
I forgot. He did not mean me to tell you. In fact, he 
begged me not to." 

From Margaret's face the flush retreating left it 
white with that whiteness which dismay creates. A 
bucket of mud had drenched her. It did more, it 
dazed her. The idea that the bucket was imaginary, 
the mud non-existent, that every word she had heard 
was a lie, did not occur to this girl who, if a Psyche, 
was not psychic. In her heart was the mud; in her 
mother's hand was the bucket. But the mire itself, 
he had put there. The evidence of her own eyes she 



66 THE PALISER CASE 

might have questioned. But he had admitted it and 
the fact that he had induced in her the purely animal 
feehng to get away, to be alone and to suffer unseen. 

She left the room, went to her own, closed the door 
and at a prie-Dieu fell on her knees, not to pray — she 
knew that the Lords of Karma are not to be pro- 
pitiated or coerced — but in humiliation. 

In humiliation there may be self-pity and that is 
always degrading. With uncertain hands she tried 
to transform that pity into sorrow, not for herself, 
but for him. The burnt offering seared her. In the 
secret chambers of her being her young soul tripped 
and fell. For support she clutched at her creed. Or- 
dinarily it would have sustained her. Ordinarily it 
would have told her that her suffering was the penalty 
for suffering which she had caused, a penalty that the 
gods of the doors that close behind our birth were 
measuring to her. Ordinarily she would have realised 
that in some anterior, enigmatic and forgotten life, 
she, too, had debased herself and that this cross was 
the punishment for that debasement. Ordinarily the 
creed would have sustained her. But as she clutched 
at it, it receded. Only the cross remained and that 
was too heavy. 

In the drawing-room an indifferent nymph pointed 
a finger at hours, all of which wound and of which the 
last one kills. 

In that room Mrs. Austen was writing a note. Ad- 
dressed to Montagu Paliser, jr., esqre., it asked him 
to dinner. 



X 

TN the subway, the following evening, Cassy saw a 
•*- man eyeing her. She turned and saw another man 
who also was eyeing her. On the seat opposite two 
women were discussing her clothes. 

The clothes, her own manufacture, were not of the 
fashion, not behind it, or ahead of it, but above it. A 
mode, or a mood of her own, they consisted in a blue 
silk smock and a yellow cloth skirt. On the sleeves 
and about the neck of the smock there was also yel- 
low, touches of it, with which the skirt married. 
Therewith she was hatless, rebellious and handsome. 

Accustomed to the inquisitiveness of appraising 
eyes, she ignored the women as, already, she had ig- 
nored the men. With obliterating unconcern, she re- 
duced them to the fluidity of the inchoate. Other 
matters occupied her, and, primarily, a trick, an ex- 
tremely shabby one, from which she had not yet re- 
covered. 

The day before, after paying the butcher, the baker, 
and the punctual and pertinacious agent, she had scaled 
the walk-up where she found her father with the vio- 
lin, on which, an hour earlier, Lennox had loaned her 
the money. 

The spectacle flabbergasted her. Then, realising 
what Lennox had done, his iniquity struck her as 
hateful. At once, in an effort to account, however 
imaginatively, for the apparent sorcery of it all, she 

67 



68 THE PALISER CASE 

tried to invent a fairy-tale. But the tale would not 
come. Nor was it needed. Her father dispensed with 
any. Impatient of detail, as the artist usually is, he 
required none. The extraordinary perspicacity of the 
police who had nailed and returned the violin in- 
stanter, this wizardry that would have thrown any 
one else into stupors of bewilderment, interested him 
not at all. He had the violin. That sufficed. The 
rest did not matter. 

It mattered though and monumentally to Cassy. To 
owe the butcher, the baker, the candlestickmaker, and 
to have them look slantingly at you, that was disgust- 
ing. But to be beholden for a gift, which you had 
refused to accept, and which then, behind your back, 
was dumped in on you, that was degrading. Conse- 
quently, while conjecturing new versions of Perrault, 
versions which it relieved her to find were not wanted, 
she gnashed her milk-white teeth at Lennox, felt that 
she hated him, yet felt, too, and the feeling was mad- 
dening, that the hatred was very tender. 

All this was irritating enough and the Tamburini 
had contrived to add to the irritation. It had been 
arranged that the fallen star was to come to the 
walk-up and accompany Cassy to the Splendor. In- 
stead of which, at the last moment, the ex-diva had 
telephoned that she would join her at the hotel, and 
Cassy foresaw a tedious sitting about in the lobby, for 
Ma Tamby was always late. But when have misfor- 
tunes come singly? Cassy foresaw, too, that the 
tedium would not be attenuated by Paliser's conver- 
sation. 

It was not for that, or for him, that she was then 
in the subway, but for dinner. Young, healthy and 
consequently carnal, though not otherwise carnal than 



THE PALISER CASE 69 

hunger can make you, she liked fcxxl, on condition 
that she had not prepared it, and — in particular, and 
why not? — she liked the savorously truffled menus 
that walk-ups lack. She had another reason for being 
in the subway, one that Ma Tamby had lodged, like a 
flea, in her ear. 

But now, near the heart of Manhattan, the train 
had stopped. Cassy got out, looked at her white gloves, 
wondered if they smelled of benzine, decided that they 
did, took them off and went on to the Splendor where 
Paliser was waiting. 

Other people appeared to be similarly occupied. In 
the high, wide hall were groups of careful men and 
careless women, the latter very scrumptious in their 
imported frocks. The sight of these Parisianisms 
abashed Cassy no more than her appearance abashed 
Paliser. Etiquette, Formality, the Proper Thing, the 
great inane gods of the ante-bellum heavens, he had 
never acknowledged and now, though locally their 
altars remained and their worship persisted, he knew 
they were forever dead, blown into the dust-bin of 
the things that were, tossed there in derision by that 
atheist, the War. 

The careless women looked at Cassy and carefully 
looked away. The careful men looked at her and care- 
lessly looked again. In the severity of the wide, high 
hall, the girl with her rebellious beauty and harlequin 
gown, struck a note which it lacked, struck two of 
them, the go-and-be-hanged-to-you and originality. 

In evening clothes that said Savile Row, Paliser ap- 
proached. "You are punctual as a comet and equally 
luminous." 

Cassy, ignoring the remark, ignoring, too, the hand 



70 THE PALISER CASE 

that accompanied it, cut him short. ''Haven't seen 
Madame Tamburini, have you?" 

Pahser's hair had the effect of a mirror. He 
smoothed the back of it. The ex-diva he had cer- 
tainly seen and not later than just before she tele- 
phoned to Cassy. But it is injudicious, and also tire- 
some, to tell everything. With the wave of a cheque, 
the complicity of the former first-lady had been as- 
sured, and assured moreover without a qualm on her 
part. Ma Tamby did not know what it is to have a 
qualm — which she could not have spelled if she had 
known. She was differently and superiorly educated. 
In the tiniversity that life is, she had acquired en- 
cyclopedias of recondite learning. She knew that ice 
is not all that it is cracked up to be : that a finger 
in the pie is better than two in the fire, and that angels 
have been observed elsewhere than at Mons — learning 
which, as you may see, is surprising. 

Over the ham and eggs of an earlier evening, the 
syllables of Paliser's name had awakened echoes of 
old Academy nights and Mapleson's ''grand revivals" 
of the Trovatore, echoes thin and quavering, yet still 
repeating hymns in glory of the man's angelic papa. 
On the way from ham and eggs to Harlem, she had, 
in consequence, conjured, for Cassy 's benefit, with 
performing fleas. But when, on this afternoon, M. 
P. jr., had come and waved cheques at her, she had 
felt that her worst hopes were realised, that her finger 
was really in the pie, and she had agreed to every- 
thing, which, however, for the moment, was nothing 
at all, merely to abandon Cassy that evening; merely 
also to collaborate later in the evocation of a myth, 
and meanwhile to keep at it with the fleas. 

Now, in the hall of the Splendor, as Paliser patted 



THE PALISER CASE 71 

the back of his head, he was enjoying Cassy's open- 
air appearance that needed only a tennis-racket to be 
complete. 

Cassy glanced about. She had a penny or two more 
than her carfare and yet, if she had owned the shop, 
she could not have appeared more at ease in this smart- 
est of smart inns, a part of which, destiny, in its 
capriciousness, was to offer her. 

*^No,*' he answered. **But I have a private room 
somewhere. She can find her way there, unless you 
prefer palms and an orchestra." 

"I do," said Cassy, to whom a room with this man 
said only boredom and who liked to see what was 
going on. 

Then when, presently, they were seated at a table, to 
which the chastened captain of the ham-and-egg night 
had piloted the way, Cassy beheld what she had never 
beheld before, and what few mortals ever do behold, 
a cradled bottle of Clos de Vougeot. But to her, the 
royal cru was very much like the private room. It 
said nothing. A neighbouring table was more elo- 
quent. 

Among the people seated there was an imperial wo- 
man with an imperial manner, whom Cassy instantly 
recognised. She was prima donna, prima donna 
assoluta, and though Cassy did not know it — nor 
would it have interested her if she had known — disso- 
luta also. 

To be in her shoes ! 

In that seven-leagued dream, she forgot Paliser, 
the delinquent Tamburini, the trick that Lennox had 
played. In a golden gloom, on a wide stage, to a 
house packed to the roof, Cassy was bowing. Her 



72 THE PALISER CASE 

final roulade had just floated on and beyond, lost now 
in cyclonic bravas. 

''It was the Due d'Aumale," Paliser was saying. 

"Eh?'' Abruptly Cassy awoke. 

*'0r, if not, some other chap who, recognising it, 
ordered his regiment to halt and present arms/' 

"To whom?" 

"To the vineyard where the grape in that bottle was 
grown." 

Cassy shook out a napkin. "You talk just like my 
janitress. I never understand a word she says." 

But now a waiter was bringing delicacies other 
than those obtainable in Harlem ; in particular, a dish 
that had the merit of pleasing Cassy. 

"What is it?" she asked. 

"Muskrat." 

"What!" 

"Muskrat with terrapin for a pseudonym. The 
pseudonym shows imagination. Let us be thankful 
for that. Gastronomy is bankrupt. Formerly it was 
worshipped. Formerly gastronomy was a goddess. 
To-day the sole tributes consist in bills-of-fare that 
are just like the Sahara minus the oases. It is the 
oases we want and it is muskrat we get. That is all 
wrong. The degree of culture that any nation may 
claim is shown in its cookery and if there is anything 
viler than what we get here it must be served in Ber- 
lin. It must have been Solon who said: Tell me 
what you eat and I will tell you who you are.' He 
added, or should have, that animals feed, man dines 
and, when permitted, dines devoutly. There are 
dishes, as there are wines, to which one should rise 
and bow. But hereabouts it is only by special dis- 
pensation that one gets them. In a hotel such as this 
there is an outward show of reverence, but it is sheer 



THE PALISER CASE 73 

hypocrisy; of real piety there is none, a sham attempt 
to observe the sacred rites without knowing how. I 
admit I don't know either. From me the divine af- 
flatus has been withheld. But elsewhere I have been 
conscious of the presence. Once or twice I was 
blessed. Here, though, in default of shrines there 
should be chairs. Harvard, Yale, Columbia, should 
establish a few. When I was in college I was taught 
everything that it is easiest to forget, li the youth 
of the land were instructed in gastronomy we would 
all be wiser and better. Chairs on gastronomy, that 
is what we need !" 

Cassy laughed. ''Why not tables?'' 

Paliser laughed with her. The laughter was a bond. 
It joined them however tenuously. It was what he 
had been driving at. Accustomed to easy successes, 
Cassy's atmosphere, with its flavour of standoffish- 
ness and indifference, appealed to this man, who had 
supped on the facile and who wanted the difficult. 
Cassy, he could have sworn, would supply it and, if 
he had, he would have sworn very truly. 

Meanwhile the muskrat had gone. Dishes less false 
but equally fair had followed. Now, with the air of 
a conjurer, the waiter just showed them an entremets 
which he hastened to serve. It was a soufflee. 

At it, Cassy, just showing the point of her straw- 
berry tongue, exclaimed without rancour : '*Ma Tamby 
has thrown us over." 

Paliser lit a cigarette. "She may be singing in the 
private room." 

Cassy laughed again. "Yes. 'Una voce poco fa!' 
That would be just the thing — wouldn't it? — to sing* 
privately in private." 

Paliser answered, though what, she did not hear. 
The orchestra drowned it and for a moment she con- 



74 THE PALISER CASE 

sidered him, conscious that he was less objectionable 
than he had seemed, yet entirely unconscious that such 
objection as she had experienced was due to his ex- 
treme good-looks, which in a man are always ob- 
jectionable to a woman when she herself is handsome, 
for they make him resemble her and, in so doing, con- 
stitute an encroachment on her prerogatives, which, 
in itself, is an affront. 

Cassy, ignorant of the psychology of it, equally un- 
aware that familiarity which may breed contempt can 
also dissolve dislike, and feeling merely a lessening 
of her instinctive hostility, told herself that he was 
perhaps not as cocky as he looked and drank of the 
glass before her. 

The Clos de Vougeot which, to the educated palate, 
is art, literature and song combined, meant nothing 
more to her than if it had been Medoc. She drank 
it because it was there at her hand, as she would 
have drunk water, without savouring it, without any 
realisation of the enormity of the crime. Yet though 
it meant nothing, nothing at least of which she was 
aware, the royal cru was affecting her. It modified 
and mollified, admonishing her that this man was an 
inoffensive insect who, circumstances favouring, 
might, as Ma Tamby when inserting the flea had told 
her, put her father on his feet. 

In just what the favouring circumstances could con- 
sist, the fallen star had not bothered to indicate, and 
she had not bothered because they were too obvious 
and also because she was sure that Cassy was not in- 
sane. 

Paliser abandoned his cigarette. "If you like, we 
might look in at the Metropolitan. I believe I have a 
box." 

Apart from down-stage and the centre of it, apart, 



THE PALISER CASE 7$ 

too, from the flys and the dressing-rooms, Cassy's 
imagination had not as yet conceived anything more 
beckoning than a box at the opera, even though, as 
on this occasion, the opera happened to be a concert. 

''Why, yes. Only '' Pausing, she looked about. 

The imperial lady had gone. 

''Only w^hat?'' Paliser very needlessly asked for he 
knew. 

"I fear I am a bit overdressed." 

"Not for Sunday. The house will be full and no- 
body in it. Besides, what do you care?'' 

Cassy shrugged. "Personally, not a rap. It was 
of you I was thinking." 

Paliser, who had been signing the check and feeing 
the waiter, looked at her. 'T did not know that you 
were so considerate." 

Cassy, in surprise not at him, but at herself, laughed. 
"Nor did I." 

Paliser stood up and drew back her chair. "Be 
careful. You might become cynical. It is in think- 
ing of others that cynicism begins." 

The platitude slipped from him absently. He had 
no wish for the concert, no wish to hear Berlinese 
trulls and bubonic bassi bleat. But, for the tolerably 
delicate enterprise that he had in hand, there were 
the preliminary steps which could only be hastened 
slowly and anything slower than the Metropolitan 
on a Sunday night, it was beyond him to conjecture. 

But though on that evening a basso did bleat, it 
may be that he was not bubonic. Moreover he was 
followed by a soprano who, whether trullish or not, 
at any rate was not Berlinese and whose voice had the 
lusciousness of a Hawaiian pineapple. But the selec- 
tions, which were derived from old Italian cupboards, 
displeased Paliser, who called them painted mush. 



76 THE PALISER CASE 

But not twice ! Cassy turned her back on him. The 
painted mush shook stars in her ears, opened vistas 
on the beyond. Save for him she v^ould have been 
quite happy. But his remark annoyed her. It caused 
her to revise her opinion. Instead of an inoffensive 
insect he was an offensive fool. None the less, as the 
concert progressed, she revised it again. On enter- 
ing the box she had seen his name on the door. The 
memory of that, filtering through the tinted polenta 
from the ancient cupboards, softened her. A man so 
gifted could express all the imbecilities he liked. Elle 
s'enfichait. 

As a result, before it was over, in lieu of her back, 
she gave him the seduction of her smile, and, later 
when, in his car, on the way to the walk-up, he spoke 
of future dinners, fresher songs, she had so far for- 
gotten the painted mush insult, that momentarily she 
foresaw but one objection. She had nothing to wear 
and frankly, with entire unconcern, she out with it. 

For that he had a solution which he kept to himself. 
The promptly obliterating stare with which she would 
have reduced him to non-existence, he dodged in ad- 
vance. 

Apparently changing the subject, he said: "You 
know — or know of — Mrs. Beamish, don't you?" 

'*Never heard of her," said Cassy, entirely unaware 
that no one else ever had either. 

''She was at the Bazaar the other night and admired 
your singing." 

''Very good of her I am sure," replied Cassy, who, a 
born anarchist and by the same token a born autocrat, 
loathed condescension. 

Paliser corrected it. "No, not good — appreciative. 
She wants you to sing at her house. If you are will- 



THE PALISER CASE 77 

ing, could she arrange about it through Madame Tarn- 
burini?" 

*'If she tried very hard, I suppose she might/' 
Cassy, with the same loftiness, answered. 

But the loftiness was as unreal as Mrs. Beamish. 
Inwardly she jubilated, wondering how much she 
would get. A hundred ? In that case she could repay 
Lennox at once. At the thought of it, again she re- 
vised her opinion. Paliser was young and in her 
judgment all young men were insects. On the other 
hand he was serviceable. Moreover, though he looked 
cocky, he did not presume. He talked rot, but he 
did not argue. Then, too, his car was a relief. 

But now the car, after bolting through the Park 
and flying along the Riverside, had swerved. It was 
mounting the upper reaches of the longest highway 
on the planet. There it swerved again. From Broad- 
way it barked loudly into a side-street where easily, 
with a soapy slide, it stopped. 

Paliser got out, preceded Cassy to the steps of the 
walk-up and smiled in her face. "When?'' 

Cassy, the revised opinion of him about her, gave 
him her hand. "Ask the telephone." 

The hall took her. She was scaling the stairs. On 
the way Mrs. Beamish accompanied her. She wished 
she could tell her father. Yet, if she told him, how 
could she account for what she did with the money? 
And would it be a hundred? Perhaps fifty, perhaps 
less. 

But Paliser saw to it that Mrs. Beamish behaved 
properly. On the morrow Ma Tamby dumped in 
Cassy's astonished lap two hundred and fifty — less 
ttn per cent., business is business — for samples of the 
bel canto which Mrs. Beamish was not to hear, and 
for an excellent reason, there was no such person. 



XI 

MRS. AUSTEN looked at Lennox, who had been 
looking at her, but who was then looking at 
the rug, in the border of which were arabesques. He 
did not see them. The rug was not there. The room 
itself had disappeared. The nymph, the dial, the fur- 
niture, the decorations and costly futilities with which 
the room was cluttered, all these had gone. Mrs. 
Austen had ceased to be. In that pleasant room, in 
the presence of this agreeable woman, Lennox was 
absolutely alone, as, in any great crisis of the emo- 
tions, we all are. 

Of one thing he was conscious. He was sufifering 
atrociously. Pain blanketed him. But though the 
blanket had the poignancy of thin knives, he kept 
telling himself that it was all unreal. 

He raised his eyes. During the second in which 
they had been lowered, a second that had been an 
eternity in hell, his expression had not altered. He 
was taking it, apparently at least, unmoved. 

Mrs. Austen, who was looking at him, saw it and 
thought: He is a gentleman. The reflection en- 
couraged her and she sighed and said : "Believe me, 
I am sorry.'' 

Lennox did not believe her, but he let it go. What 
he did believe was that Margaret could not see him. 
But whether she would, if she could, was another 
matter. On Saturday he had expected her at his 

78 



THE PALISER CASE 79 

rooms. She had not come. In the evening he had 
called. She had a headache. On the following day 
he had returned. She was not feeling well. Now 
on this third day, Mrs. Austen, who on the two pre- 
vious occasions had received him, once more so far 
condescended, yet on this occasion to tell him that 
he was free, that it was Margaret's wish, that the 
engagement was ended. 

In so telling him, Mrs. Austen told, for a wonder, 
the truth, though as will sometimes happen even to 
the best of us, not all the truth. It were extravagant 
to have expected it of her. But she told all that she 
thought good for him; more exactly good for Mar- 
garet; more precisely for herself. 

It was then that the pleasant room with its clutter 
of costly futilities disappeared and this agreeable wom- 
an ceased to be. The avalanche of the modulated 
announcement sent Lennox reeling not merely out 
of the room, but out of the world, deeply into hell. 

It was then, too, that with a sigh, modulated also, 
Mrs. Austen had added: ''Believe me, I am sorry.'' 

Lennox looked at her. *'You say that Margaret 
wants our engagement broken. Why?" 

*'She has changed her mind." 

''So I infer. But why?" 

"Because she is a woman." 

"But not the ordinary woman. It is the ordinary 
woman who changes her mind — when she has one to 
change. Margaret is not of that kind. Margaret is 
not the kind to promise herself to a man and then 
throw him over. You will forgive me if I speak 
heatedly, but I do not believe it." 

With frosty indulgence Mrs. Austen reassured 
him. "You do not believe that I will forgive you? 
But, really, there is nothing to forgive. Though, 



8o THE PALISER CASE 

whether Margaret is ordinary or superior, has 
nothing to do with it. Dear me, no. Women are not 
what they were. One often hears that and often, 
too, one hears people wondering why. That always 
amuses me. The reason is so simple, isn t it ? Wom- 
en are not what they were because they used to be 
girls. Before that they were children. At one time 
they were babes. Naturally they change. They can't 
help it. It must be a general law. Or at least one 
may suppose so. One may suppose, too, that, in 
changing, they develop and in developing acquire the 
extraordinary ability to think things over. That is 
just what Margaret had don^. It is no reflection on 
you, Mr. Lennox, and I should be very sorry if you 
thought so. I am sure Margaret has the highest es- 
teem for you. I know that I have." 

Mrs. Austen, smiling frostily as she lied, thought: 
Now why doesn't he take it and go ? I hope he won't 
be tedious. 

Lennox too had his thoughts. She is trying to 
swamp me in words, he told himself. That angered 
him and he showed it. 

^'What are these things? When I last saw Mar- 
garet she said nothing about any things. There was 
no change in her then. I would stake my life that she 
had no idea of breaking our engagement. There must 
be a reason for it. What is it?'' 

Arrogantly Mrs. Austen took it up. 'There is no 
reason for your raising your voice, at any rate. As for 
the things, they ought to be obvious. In addition to 
habits and customs, very suitable in Wall Street no 
doubt, but not otherwise appealing, Margaret has 
found you a bit rough, high-tempered, domineering for 
all I know to the contrary, and " 

That's a damned lie, thought Lennox, who aggres- 



THE PALISER CASE 81 

sively cut in: ''Margaret never found me anything 
of the kind. What is more I will thank you to under- 
stand that I will not accept this dismissal — if it be one 
— from you." 

There is a show of decency that is due to any 
woman. But the veneer of civihsation is very thin. 
From beneath it, the potential troglodyte, that lurks in 
us all, is ready enough to erupt. Ready and eager 
then, he was visible in Lennox' menacing eyes, mani- 
fest in his threatening voice. 

Mrs. Austen saw the brute, saw rather that little, if 
anything, restrained Lennox from jumping up, bang- 
ing about, hunting for Margaret's room, entering there 
and catechising her violently. Margaret was ill but 
never too ill to tell the truth. Once he learned that, 
there was the fat in the fire. 

She had no time to lose. From the wardrobe of the 
actress that she was, she snatched at an oleaginous 
mask and with the mucilage of it smiled at him. 

'Why, of course not. Not for a moment would I 
have you accept it from me. I never dreamed of such 
a thing. It wouldn't be right. Margaret shall tell 
you herself. She would be here now, but the poor 
child had such a wretched night. You never had neu- 
ralgia, have you? At her age I was a martyr to it. 
I remember I took something that ended in 'ine.' 
Yesterday I suggested it but the doctor would not hear 
of it. Said she needed building up. Spoke of her just 
as though she were a town out West ; so unsympathetic 
I thought him, but of course I did not say so. He 
might have charged extra and he is expensive enough 
as it is, and always so ready to talk about his own af- 
fairs, just like my dentist. I told him once — the 
dentist I mean — that I really could not afford to pay 
him thirty dollars an hour to hear about his wife and I 



82 THE PALISER CASE 

don't think he Hked it. I know I didn't when I got his 
bill. But where was I ? Oh, yes. To-morrow or the 
next day, as soon as Margaret is the least bit better, 
you will be sure to have a line from her and if you 
do not, and you care to, you must certainly look in. 
For you must always regard us as friends. Me at any 
rate. Won't you, Mr. Lennox?" 

Moistening her lips, mentally she continued: Yes, 
count on that. But inwardly she relaxed. Such dan- 
ger as there may have been had gone. Under the 
dribble of the mucilage the fire in his eyes had flickered 
and sunk. He was too glued now for revolt. So she 
thought, but she did not know him. 

During the sticky flow of her words, he knew she 
was trying to gammon him. But he knew quite as well 
that Margaret would make no such attempt, and he 
knew it for no other reason than because he knew she 
was incapable of it. Incidentally he determined what 
he would do. Having determined it, he stood up. 

''Very good. I shall expect to hear from Margaret 
to-morrow. If I do not hear I will come, and when 
I come " 

Lennox paused and compressed his lips. The com- 
pression finished the sentence. If come he did, no 
power of hers, or of any one else, would budge him an 
inch until he saw Margaret and had it out with her. 

''Good-evening," he added and Mrs. Austen found 
herself looking at his retreating back which, even in re- 
treat, was a menace. 

"Merciful fathers!" she exclaimed, and, with that 
sense of humour which is the saving grace, the dear 
woman put her hand to her stays. She was feeling 
for her heart. She had none. Or any appetite, she 
presently told a servant who came to say that dinner 
was served. 



THE PALISER CASE 83 

She misjudged herself. For twenty-five minutes, in 
an adjoining room, she ate steadily and uncomplain- 
ingly. She had bouillon, skate in black butter, cutlets 
in curl-papers, sweetbread and cockscombs, a cold 
artichoke, hot almond pudding, an apricot, a bit of 
roquefort, a pint of claret, a thimble of benedictine and 
not a twinge, none of the indigestion of square-dealing, 
none of gastritis of good faith. She was a well-dressed 
ambition, intent on her food. No discomfort there- 
fore. On the contrary. Margaret was in bed — safe 
there. Fate and the cook were kind. 

With the taste of the liqueur still in her mouth, she 
went to her daughter who was ill with one of those 
maladies which, being primarily psychical, science can- 
not treat. Science is a classification of human igno- 
rance. It has remedies for the flesh, it has none for the 
soul. The remedies exist, but they are dispensed only 
by the great apothecaries that time and philosophy are. 

At the moment neither was available. Behind Mar- 
garet's forehead a monster crouched and crunched. 
That was nothing. It was in the tender places of her 
heart that the girl agonised and by comparison to the 
torture there, the monster was benign. 

Margaret was nineteen, which is a very mature age ; 
perhaps the most mature, since all girlhood lies behind 
it. Beyond are the pharmacopoeias of time and, for- 
tune favouring, the sofas of philosophy. But these 
sofas, even when within reach, are not adapted to 
everybody. To the young, they are detestable. Re- 
posefully they admonish that nothing is important. 
They whisper patience to the impatient. To hope, 
they say, *'Be still''; to desire, ''Be quiet"; to wisdom, 
"Be foolish." 

Conversation of that kind is very irritating, when 
you have heard it, which Margaret never had. She 



84 THE PALISER CASE 

was otherwise ignorant. She did not know that a 
sage wrote a book in praise of folly. But she acted as 
though she knew it by heart. She believed, as many 
of us do believe, that love confers the right to run a 
fence around the happy mortals for whom we care. 
It is a very astounding belief. Margaret, who believed 
in many wonderful things, believed in that and, being 
credulous, believed also that her betrothed had crawled 
under the fence and into what mire ! It polluted her, 
soiled her thoughts, followed and smeared her in the 
secret chambers of her being. Any cross is heavy. 
This cross was degrading. 

In her darkened room, on her bed of pain, she had 
shrunk from it. Her forehead was a coronet of fire. 
That was nothing. A greater pain suppresses a lesser 
one. The burn of her soul was a moxa to the burn of 
the flesh. 

The cross, at first, seemed to her more than she 
could bear. She tried to put it from her. Failing in 
that, she tried to endure it. But there are times and 
occasions when resignation in its self-effacement re- 
sembles suicide. She tried to resign herself, but she 
could not, her young heart rebelled. 

In that rebellion, evil came, peered at her, sat at 
her side, pulled at her sleeve, sprang at her. The evil 
was hatred for this man who had taken her love and 
despoiled it. She clasped it to her. It bruised but 
it comforted. It dulled both the flame in her forehead 
and the shame in her soul. Then as suddenly she be- 
gan to cry. 

Philosophy she lacked, but theosophy, which is a 
pansophy, she possessed — ^when she did not need it. 
Now, when she needed it most, it was empty as the 
noise in the street. Even otherwise it could not have 
changed the unchangeable course of events. 



THE PALISER CASE 85 

There are sins that are scarlet. There are others, 
far worse, that are drab. Melancholy tops them. It 
is a mere duty to be serene. That she could not be. 
She could not face life, as life perhaps is. She could 
not smile at a lover who loved elsewhere. It was 
not herself, it was he who prevented her. So she 
thought and for hours in her darkened room she 
washed her hands of him, washed them in tears. It 
took a wise man to write the praise of folly. 

The door of the room opened. It opened slowly, 
noiselessly, obviously. With exasperating precau- 
tions Mrs. Austen entered. The taste of benedictine 
was still in her mouth and, savouring it, she whispered : 

"Are you asleep?'* 

''No." 

"Will you eat anything?*' 

"No." 

"Are you able to talk?" 

Margaret turned. She could talk, but to what end 
and to whom ? Certainly not to her mother, who pos- 
sessed in its perfection, the household art of misinter- 
preting everything. Margaret had tried to love her. 
But perhaps any affection is a habit when it does not 
happen to be an instinct. The habit had never been 
formed, the instinct had been repressed. Always her 
mother had treated her with that indulgence which is 
as empty as an unfilled grate. There was no heat 
there. You could not warm your heart at it. But a 
child must love some one. Margaret had begun by lov- 
ing her mother. That is the way with children. They 
begin by loving their parents. Later they judge them. 
Sometimes, though not always, they forgive. One 
should not judge anybody. Margaret knew that, but 
she was a human being. She thought her mother a 
worldly woman. The fact that she was false as Judas 



86 THE PALISER CASE 

was not apparent to this girl whose knowledge of 
Iscariotism was as hearsay as her knowledge of 
gorillas. 

Now, as she turned in her bed, it was in defence 
against intrusion. Deference to her mother she had 
always observed. But she could not admit her to the 
privacy of her thoughts and, in turning her face to 
the wall, she told herself that she would not be cross- 
questioned. 

Mrs. Austen had no intention of putting her daugh- 
ter in the confessional. Anything of the kind would 
have bored her. Besides, what she thought was un- 
important. It was what she did or might do that 
mattered. 

Vacating the door she approached the bed. "Are 
you feeling any better?'' 

Margaret was feeling, if possible, worse. But she 
never complained, or, if she had to complain, then the 
complaint was solely by way of explanation. She 
turned again. 

"For if you are,'' Mrs. Austen continued, "I ought 
to say something." 

Margaret put a hand to her forehead. 

But Mrs. Austen persisted. "It is important." 

Margaret's eyes were open. She closed them and 
said: "Yes, mother, what is it?" 

Through the door came light from the hall. Mrs. 
Austen looked about. Nearby was a chair on which 
was one of those garments, made of franfreluches, 
which the French call a Jump-from-bed. Removing 
it, she sat down. 

"It is too bad. I know you don't feel like discussing 
affairs of State, but it is Luxemburg all over again. 
If I were alone concerned, I am sure I would capitulate. 
But where the State is concerned, and by that I mean 



THE PALISER CASE 87 

you, I am like the little grand-duchess — pretty child, 
from her pictures, didn't you think? — and I must re- 
sist the invader. It is true, I don't know exactly what 
the grand-duchess did do, though they said she sat in 
a motor on a bridge and flourished a revolver. But 
you never can tell. I daresay she and her maids of 
honour hid in a cellar. Perhaps we may have to." 

Margaret lowered her hand. ^'Mother, what are 
you talking about?" 

*'Your young man, of course. What else ? A half- 
hour ago, he was roaring and stamping about and 
calling me a liar. If it had not been for my dead 
body, he would have rushed in here and killed you. 
My dead body, or what I told him about passing over 
it, was the revolver that I flourished. He has gone, 
but he swore he would return. Now, unless you rally 
to the colours, we will have to hide in the cellar, or 
rather, as we haven't any, in the pantry. Don't you 
think you could eat a bit of sweetbread, or perhaps 
some almond pudding?" 

Again Margaret put her hand to her forehead. 
"Don't say that, mother. Keith did not call you a 
liar and it is not like him to roar and stamp about." 

"My dear, I don't wonder you don't believe me. 
He went on like a madman. He could not get over the 
fact that his dollymop was one too many for you. 
He seemed to think that It was none of your business." 

"Don't." 

"My dear Margaret, you must do me the justice to 
admit that I stood up for him. I said he was an at- 
tractive young man. So he is. But that is just it. 
Attractive young men are most unreliable and reliable 
young men are most unattractive. At your age, I 
used to like them fair and false. That was your 



88 THE PALISER CASE 

father's fault. He perverted me. He was so 
domestic !" 

It was an old wound that Mrs. Austen touched then 
and under it Margaret winced. ^'The poor dear ! He 
was a saint and you know it.'' 

''Know it ! I should say I did. I know too that he 
made me hate saints. But you love them and thought 
you had one, instead of which you got a devil. Your 
luck is far better than mine. If you take my advice, 
you will hang on to him like grim death. It is not 
too late. To-morrow he will be here, thundering at 
the gates." 

Dimly at the moment the girl's creed turned a ray 
on her. She lifted her head. 

''He will not thunder at the gates and he is not what 
you say. But perhaps I am. I may have done worse 
than he has and what he has done is my punishment." 

It was very little but it was too much. Mrs. Austen, 
in spite of her facile digestion, gagged at it. 

"If that is theosophy, I will believe it when I am 
old, fat and a Hun." 

Margaret sank back. "But I am sorry you have 
been annoyed. It won't happen again, I will write 
to him." 

Later, she did write. 

Forgive me, dear Keith, if I cause you pain, but I feel 
that I am not suited to you. Forgive me therefore for 
not recognising it sooner. I have thought it all over and, 
though it wrings my heart to say it, I cannot see you 
again. Forgive me and forget. 

Margaret. 



XII 

HELL was supposed to be very hot, very red, full of 
pugnacious demons. Educated people do not be- 
lieve in it any more. It is curious how ignorant edu- 
cated people have become. Hell is an actual plane, 
less vivid than was formerly imagined, not hot but 
cold, grey rather than red, but amply provided with de- 
mons, with the devils of self-accusation, with the fiends 
of insoluble queries. Very real and very actual, it is 
surprising how many educated people are there. The 
oddity of that is increased by the fact that they regard 
it as a private establishment. They regard their hell 
as unique. Perhaps the idea flatters them. Yet soon- 
er or later everybody enters it. Hell may seem private. 
It is universal. 

Headlong into it, Margaret's letter precipitated Len- 
nox. Being a man, he struggled up. But not out. 
In hell there are no signposts. It takes time to find 
one's way. It takes more, it takes resignation. When 
both have been acquired, the walls part of themselves. 
The aspect of Hfe has altered, but you are free. 

Lennox, in struggling up, encountered the demons 
of enigmatic riddles. Each word of Margaret's letter 
they converted into a Why? They thrust it at him, 
demanding an answer. But the answer her heart 
alone possessed. That heart had been his. It was his 
no longer. The heart that she had given him, she had 
taken away. Nothing could be simpler and nothing 
more mysterious. The mystification was complete, 
but not the suffering. Suffering is never complete. 



90 THE PALISER CASE 

However deep the hell, there is always a deeper one. 

From the letter he looked at the walls. They were 
dumb. There was no answer for the demons there, 
not anywhere, perhaps, except among werewolves, 
basilisks and Mrs. Austens. These monsters did not 
occur to him. The monstrous letter sufficed. But 
Margaret was still too near, her vows were too recent 
for him to credit it, and the fact that he could not dis- 
closed itself in those words which all have uttered, all 
at least before whom the inexplicable has sprung. 

*'It is impossible!" 

Yet there it was. Yet there too was something 
else. But what? At once he was back again in the 
issueless circle of infernal questions. 

The day before he had known that something was 
amiss. The attitude of Mrs. Austen had been too as- 
sured, too venomous, too smiling, for him to doubt 
it. But though he did not doubt that, not for a second 
did he doubt Margaret either. Always aware of the 
woman's hostility, he had been equally aware that it 
could not influence the girl. Not for a moment there- 
fore had he accepted the statement that the engagCv 
ment was broken. At the time he had thought that 
when next he had a word with Margaret it would all 
be explained. But all what? His life was as clean 
as his face. It was not that then. On the other hand 
he was not rich. By the same token, Margaret's only 
idea of money was to help others with it. It was not 
that then either. Nor was it that she had not loved 
him. She had loved him. He could have sworn it 
and not out of vanity, for he had none, but because 
never could she have promised herself to him if she 
had not. None the less, she could not see him again. 
She had thought it over. She was not suited to him. 
He was told to forget her. Why? 



THE PALISER CASE 91 

That Why, repeating itself, forced him deeper into 
the circles of which hell is made. 

But even in hell despair is brief. Unless it con- 
sume you utterly, and it would not be hell if it did, it 
goads. It compels you to seek an issue. Apart from 
time, which is very slow, and resignation, which is 
never prompt, there is another portal. 

A poet, who discovered it, scrawled on it: "Lascia 
la donna e studia la matematica'' — a cryptogram which 
subsequent pilgrims variously deciphered. To some, 
it spelled Thought; to others. Action. Action is 
thought put in motion. 

Lennox, to whom time was too dilatory and resigna- 
tion too remote, happened on the device which he 
translated after his manner. 

But however you construe the hierograph, the door 
must be demoHshed before you get out. Across the 
door is written: Hope. It is a very hard door to 
crack. When you succeed you are covered with 
splinters. They cling to you and pierce you. Joiners, 
carpenters, pilgrims, poets and fiends have a name for 
them. They call the splinters Regrets. Though you 
have escaped, they accompany you. Hell encircles you 
still. 

It was on the day following the conversation with 
Mrs. Austen that Lennox received Margaret's letter. 
In his dark rooms it was waiting. A moment previous 
he had intended to go to her. He had it all planned. 
Mrs. Austen could say what she liked; the physician 
might interfere; he would submit to no one. He pro- 
posed to see her, to adjust it, to swing up and out from 
the circles which already were closing about him. 

On leaving Mrs. Austen he had gone to dinner. He 
could not eat. He had gone to bed. He could not 



92 THE PALISER CASE 

sleep. In the morning his face was flushed. Always 
fit, hard as nails, these phenomena perplexed. Yet 
he knew it was not illness that produced them. What 
he did not know was that poison had. The poison was 
anger, an unphilosophic emotion which disturbs the 
circulation, the stomach and social intercourse. He 
could have wrung Mrs. Austen's neck. 

In that murderous mood he went to Wall Street 
and in that mood returned. Already hell was gaping. 
Headlong into it the letter threw him. Being a man he 
sought and found the door, smashed it and passed out. 
Not at once however. It took him many a sleepless 
hour before he deciphered the device Lascia la donna. 
Leave the lady? Certainly. Since she so wished, 
what else in decency could he do ? Go and badger her 
with complaints and questions? Not he. But how 
do you translate : Studia la matematica ? The diction- 
ary that is in every man, who is a man, told him. Then 
he knew. Meanwhile the flush in departing left him 
grey. 

In every affection there is the germ of hate. Mar- 
garet, confronted by the una waited, hated Lennox. 
Lennox, confronted by the inexplicable, hated Mar- 
garet. Hatred is love turned inside out. Love is 
perhaps a fermentation of the molecules of the imag- 
ination. In that case so also is hate. Of all things 
mystery disturbs the imagination most. Margaret 
could not understand how Lennox could have acted 
as he had. Lennox could not understand how Mar- 
garet could act as she did. Dual misunderstanding, 
in which the imagination fermented. Hence the hate. 
Yet each, in hating, loved the other. Each felt the 
splinters which, as Browning somewhere noted, kept 
fresh and fine. Only a touch and the splinters would 
have joined. 



THE PALISER CASE 93 

Mrs. Austen, for all her horrible shrewdness, could 
not have prevented that. But pride, that gives so 
many of us a fall, was more potent than she. Mar- 
garet, insulted, could but turn away. Lennox, dis- 
missed, could but let her go. 

Any emotion is unbecoming. Pride is merely 
ridiculous. It resides in the youthful-minded, how- 
ever old. In residing in these young people, it re- 
sisted the touch that would have combined them and, 
through its opposition, made one of them ill and the 
other grey. To be proud! How splendid it seems 
and how stupid it is. Hell is paved with just such 
imbecilities. 

It is said of Dante that children peered at him and 
whispered : ''That man has been in hell." 

None of the children that clubmen are, pointed at 
Lennox, though two of them whispered. The others 
did not know, not yet at least. But Verelst knew and 
Jones guessed. The guess was due to the romantic 
profession that endows a novelist with the wonderful 
faculty of putting two and two together. 

Hitherto, that is since the engagement was an- 
nounced and, for that matter, long previously, Lennox 
had passed the evening in Park Avenue. Where else 
would he have passed it? After the rupture he sat 
about and read all the papers. When a man is down 
and out that is just what he does do, though not neces- 
sarily in the Athenaeum Club. 

Jones, noticing it, rapidly divined the reason which 
Verelst confirmed. 

'*Yes, her mother told me." 

It was in a club window, of an afternoon. Before 
them was Fifth Avenue which, in the Aprils of not so 
long ago, used to be a horse-show of fair faces, ravish- 



94 THE PALISER CASE 

ing hats, discreet liveries, folded arms and yards of 
yodling brass. 

Verelst, eyeing the usurping motors, added: *'It is 
because of some girl I believe, or rather I don't believe 

itr 

Jones sat back. Instantly the motors were replaced 
by the picture of a girl whose face was noble and 
reserved. He had seen the face at the Bazaar. He 
had seen Lennox talking to it. Afterward Lennox 
had told him that the girl was Portuguese. The pic- 
ture was attractive but unconvincing. In agreement 
with Verelst he was about to say so. But behind him 
he heard a voice that he knew and he switched and 
said: 

''What a remarkable country Portugal is! Born 
dumb, she spoke twice: once when she gave Asia to 
Europe, again when she presented the Lusiades to the 
world. Her history is resumed in two miracles, a 
discovery and a masterpiece. But when the Cape of 
Good Hope was succeeded by Camoens, once more she 
relapsed into a silence that was broken only when she 
shouted her defiance at the Huns.'' 

Now though that voice was addressing them. Both 
turned and Lennox asked: ''What are you talking 
about — war ?" 

"Sit down," said Verelst, who gave him a hand. 

Jones gave him another. "What else is there to 
talk about? It will be talked of forever. So will 
that scrofulous Kaiser. Unfortunately he knows it 
and that pleases him. Last year or the year before he 
called for the death and destruction of all who op- 
posed him. With singular modesty he added : 'God 
who speaks through my mouth so orders!' Loti 
claims that what spoke through him was a hyena. Loti 



THE PALISER CASE 95 

is lacking in literary sobriety. When a hyena has 
eaten he is at peace with the world. But when was 
bestiality ever filled? It is insatiable and so is this 
thug whom God, at most, may have permitted to look 
in the mirror without vomiting. Meanwhile we stand 
by. A generation ago we fought for Cuba. What 
is Hecuba to us in comparison to the Anima Mundi?" 

Verelst turned on the novelist. ''And what is 
literary sobriety? You are hurling words in massed 
formation." 

Jones smiled at him. "Where is my harp?'' 

'*You mean your megaphone," Lennox put in. "You 
are always rehearsing copy. One of these days I may 
give you some." 

"From the front?" Jones asked. 

"Yes, though. I don't see how you knew. The 
President has asked for war. Why aren't we up and 
at 'em? If Congress hems and haws over it much 
longer, I'll get my gun and join the Foreign Legion." 

Jones nodded. He had guessed that also and he 
said: "Wait and join the legions here. At present, 
the country is alarmingly apathetic. The man in the 
subway is muddled. The call to arms does not stir 
him. The issues, clear enough to us, seem to him 
mixed as macaroni. He does not understand a war 
that itS three thousand miles away. But in a year, 
every man in the country — a country that has never 
been beaten ! — will be in it body and soul. Undividedly, 
shoulaer to shoulder, we will be in it as we have never 
been in anything before." 

The novelist touched a bell. "Lennox, have a 
Bronx. Verelst, what will you take? I'll wager a 
pippin that war is declared to-morrow." 

"Done," said Verelst — who lost it. 



XIII 

THE two hundred and fifty — less ten per cent — 
which an imaginary Mrs. Beamish had paid for 
the pleasure of not hearing Cassy sing, transported 
the girl who was not given to transports. These sub- 
siding, she viewed the matter from its business aspect. 
She needed a frock, a wrap, a hat, gloves, shoes and 
certain things that are nowhere visible except in ad- 
vertisements, shop-windows and extreme privacy. 
Also, her hair required tralalaing. Meanwhile, first 
and foremost, Lennox must be paid. The subsidy was 
not too much by a penny. These considerations oc- 
cupied but an instant. 

''When is it?'' she asked the Tamburini, who, a mo- 
ment before, had dumbfounded her with the money. 

*'When is what?'' inquired the ex-star who already 
had forgotten Mrs. Beamish. 

"Why, the concert!" 

Carlotta Tamburini was dressed like a fat idol, in 
silk and false pearls. There the idolatry ceased. In 
her hand was an umbrella and on her head a hat of 
rose-leaves which a black topknot surmounted. About 
her shoulders was a feather boa. It seemed a bit 
mangy. Seated on Cassy's bed she looked at a win- 
dow that gave on a wall. Cassy was standing. Be- 
hind Cassy wr.s a door which the extinguished light 
had closed. Beyond, in the living-room, was the mar- 

96 



THE PALISER CASE 97 

quis. Anything that he did not hear would not hurt 
him. 

"Oh, she'll let us know/^ 

*'What sort of a catamount is she?'' 

At that the former prima donna's imagination 
balked. But she got something out. "Nice enough. 
What do you care ?" 

"I hate all those snobs." 

"So do I," said the Tamburini, who worshipped the 
breed even when non-existent. "But don't go and in- 
clude him. If it hadn't been for him " 

"Was he with her?" 

"You ought to have heard the way he went on about 
you. She said : 'Why, Monty, I do believe you'd like 
to marry her.' " 

Cassy's mouth twitched as she munched it. "She 
presumed to say that ! She's an insolent beast." 

"He shut her up, I can tell you. He said if he got 
on his knees, you wouldn't dust your feet on him.'^ 

"That jackanapes! I should say not!" 

"You might say worse. Take the Metro. You're 
spat on if you're down and spat at if you're up. A 
dog's own life." Lifting her voice, the fat woman 
sang: "Croyez-moi car j'ai passe par la." 

"What has that to do with it?" 

Nothing whatever, the Tamburini truthfully re- 
flected but omitted to say so. Paliser, in producing 
Mrs. Beamish, had also produced the programme. 
With both was a cheque. With the cheque was the as- 
surance of another and a bigger one. She had only to 
earn it. To earn it she had only to follow the pro- 
gramme. The poor soul was trying to. The job 
was not easy. Cassy was skittish. A pull on the rein 
and she would kick the apple-cart over. 



98 THE PALISER CASE 

Femininely she discounted it all. Cassy was not 
worth the time, the trouble, particularly the careful 
handling. There were girls in plenty, quite as good- 
looking, who, without stopping to count two, or even 
one, would jump at it. But there you were! PaHser 
did not want partridges that flew broiled into his 
mouth. A true sportsman, he liked to snare the bird. 
The feminine in her understood that also. Besides it 
was all grist for her mill. But the grist was uphill, 
and if the noble marquis got so much as an inkling of 
it, he was just the sort of damn fool to whip out his 
sword-cane and run her through. The honour of the 
Casa-Evora, what ? Yet, being on the job, she buckled 
to it. 

'*What will you get, dearie?'' 

Cassy sat down. Her previous ruminations re- 
turned. Escorting them was a vision of a baronial 
castle. In the hall, a guest-book in which you wrote 
your name. A squad of lackeys that showed you 
into a suite of salons. Rugs on which there was peace ; 
sofas on which there was ease; etageres on which 
there were reveries. Nothing else. No cupboards 
hung with confections. No models sailing in and out. 
Nothing so commercial as anything for sale. Noth- 
ing but patrician repose and the chatelaine — a duchess 
disguised as a dressmaker — who might, or might not, 
ask you upstairs. 

In war time at that! Though, it is true, Congress 
had only just declared it. 

But, Cassy reflected, two hundred and fifty, with 
Lennox deducted and less ten per cent, would not take 
her as far as the drawbridge. The fleeting vision of 
the castle passed, replaced by the bargain seductions of 
department-stores. 



THE PALISER CASE 99 

Fingering the money, she said: "Where does this 
person live? She ought to send a taxi/' 

''Certamente/' rephed the fat woman, lapsing, as she 
occasionally did lapse, into the easy Italian of the lyric 
stage. "She certainly will." 

Cassy jumped up. "Well, then, you come along 
while I take a look about. Afterward we will have 
lunch. I'll eat, you can watch me and I'll tell you how 
it tastes. There's the telephone !" 

Cassy opened the door, went out into the narrow and 
shadowy hall and took the receiver. 

"Yes? Oh! None the better for the asking. To- 
night? Impossible. To-morrow? Perhaps. Good- 
bye." 

"Who was that?" the noble marquis called from the 
room beyond. 

"An imbecile who wants me to dine and go to the 
opera." 

"Not that Paliser?" 

Cassy, poking her head in at him, threw him a kiss 
and returned to the Tamburini with whom, a little 
later, she was praying among the worshippers that 
thread the sacred and silent way where Broadway and 
Sixth Avenue meet. 

In an adjacent basilica, the atmosphere charged 
with pious emanations, with envy, malice, greed and 
all other charitableness, choked the girl. But at last 
the holy rites were ended. To the voluntary of 
$109.99, she passed into the peace of Herald Square 
where the ex-diva swayed, stopped and holding her 
umbrella as one holds a guitar, looked hopelessly and 
helplessly about. 

"You're not preparing to serenade the Elevated?*' 
Cassy bawled in her ear. 



loo THE PALISER CASE 

In the slam-bang of trains and the metallic howls of 
surface cars that herded and volplaned about them, 
the fat lady, now apparently gone mad, was gesticu- 
lating insanely. Yet she was but indicating, or trying 
to indicate, the relative refuge of a side street in which 
there was a cook-shop. 

Then, presently, after all the dangers that may be 
avoided in remaining at home, and supplied with such 
delights as clam fritters offer, she savorously re- 
marked : *'I hope I am not going to be sick." 

The charm of scented streets, the sedatives of shop- 
ping, the joy of lightsome fritters, these things, com- 
bined with the job, the unearned cheque and the fear 
of losing both, made her ghastly. 

Cassy, devoid of pity, said : **Have some beer." 

The Tamburini gulped. *1 couldn't talk to you this 
morning and I've got to. It's for your own good, 
dearie; it is, so help me! Supposing he is a jacka- 
napes. What do you want? A prize-fighter? Take 
it from me, whether he is one or the other, in no time 
it will be quite the same." 

Cassy's lips curled. '*Croyez-moi car j'ai passe par 
la." But, in mocking the woman, she frowned. *'What 
business is it of yours?" 

The fallen star gulped again. Conscious that she 
had struck the wrong note, she struck another. *'Your 
papa is no better, is he ? Between you and me and the 
bedpost, I doubt if he ever will be. I doubt if he 
plays again. You'll have to look after him. How're 
you going to? You can't expect to sing every night 
to the tune of two hundred and fifty. Not with war 
marching in on us. Not with everybody hard up." 

Cassy had been about to order a chocolate eclair. 
The new note stayed her. But though new, it was not 



THE PALISER CASE loi 

novel She had heard it before. It rang true. Ab- 
sently she shoved at her plate. 

In theory she knew her way about. The migratory 
systems of domestic experience said nothing to her, 
nor, thus far, had the charts of matrimony either. 
In the sphere of life to which a walk-up leads, the 
charts were dotted with but the postman and the cor- 
ner druggist. Men and plenty of them she had met, 
but they too said nothing and not at all because they 
were dumb, but because, as the phrase is, they did not 
talk her language. But for every exception there is 
perhaps a rule. The one man who did speak her lan- 
guage, had held his tongue. 

Now, as she shoved at her plate, she saw him, saw 
the tea-caddy, saw his rooms and saw too, as she left 
them, the girl to whom he was engaged. In the mem- 
ory of that she lingered and looked down. 

'Why, he could lead an orchestra of his own, your 
papa could." 

Cassy looked up. She had been far away, too far, 
in a land where dreams do not come true. Impatiently 
she twisted. ''What?'' 

"Didn't you hear me, dearie? I was talking about 
money — bushels of it." 

About the bushels the woman rolled her tongue. 
They tasted better than the fritters. 

A waiter approached. The room was long, dark, 
narrow, slovenly, spaced with tables on which were 
maculate cloths and lamps with faded shades. Greas- 
ily the waiter produced the bill. 

"Bushels!" she appetisingly repeated. 

Cassy paid. The waiter slouched away. 

"You will drive through life in a hundred horse- 



102 THE PALISER CASE 

power car and be fined for speeding. The papers will 
sayi^Mrs. Pal '" 

''What did he pay you to tell me that?" Cassy ex- 
ploded at her. 

Unruffled by the shot, which was part and parcel 
of the job, and realising that any denial would only 
confirm what at most could be but a suspicion, the for- 
mer diva fingered her pearls and assumed an air of 
innocence. 

But already Cassy had covered her with her blotting- 
paper look. ''As if I cared !" 

"Dearie, he did pay me. He paid me the compli- 
ment of supposing that I take an interest in you. But 
he said nothing except what I said he said. He said 
if he got down on his knees you would turn your back 
on him.'' 

"Then he is cleverer than he looks." 

"Well, anyway, he is clever enough to have bushels 
of money and that is the greatest cleverness there is." 

"In New York," retorted Cassy, who had never been 
anywhere else, physically at least, though mentally her 
little feet had trod the streets of Milan, the boards of 
the Scala. 

"It can't be much different in Patagonia," replied 
this lady, who, to save her life, could not have told 
whether the land was Asiatic or African, nor who, to 
save her soul — if the latter were still salvable — could 
not have told that it was neither. "Besides," she added, 
"I was only thinking of your poor, dear papa." 

Cassy said nothing. She stood up. She was mak- 
ing for the door and the charm of the scented streets. 

Ma Tamby sighed, rose and followed. It was the 
devil's own job. Housebreaking must be easier! 



XIV 

/"^ASSY'S department-store investments reached 
^^^ her the next day. Her father, who opened the 
door to them, fell back before the sum total of the 
C. O. D. With an arm in a sling, he could not hold 
the packages, much less pay for them, and he gasped as 
he called for aid. 

The money that Cassy then produced seemed to 
him darkly mysterious and although he believed as 
firmly in her virtue, as, before the break, he had be- 
lieved in the maestria of his own right hand, none the 
less, in addition to aid, he exacted light. 

Cassy, dumping the packages on her bed, occupied 
herself in verifying the change which amounted to 
one cent. Then she sketched it. 

His surprise fell away. The mythical catamount, 
the imaginary concert, the ponderable subsidy — two 
hundred and fifty, less ten per cent. — seemed to him 
natural and an unnatural world. 

**And there's about ten dollars remaining,'' Cassy 
resumed. *'Ten dollars and a penny. You can have 
the penny and I will keep the ten, or I'll keep the ten 
and you can have the penny." 

That also seemed natural. But the addition or sub- 
traction disclosed a deficit and he exclaimed at it. 
**You said two hundred and fifty !" 

Cassy too saw the hole, but she could not lie out of it. 
'Well, I owed the diflPerence." 

In speaking she turned. Before her was a mirror 
in which she glanced at her hair that had been 

103 



104 THE PALISER CASE 

superiorly tralala'd. She turned again, reflecting that 
Lennox must have already received the postal-order, 
which she had mailed the night before, and wonder- 
ing whether he had liked her little scrawl of indignant 
thanks. 

"I'll tell you about it later," she added. "Now I 
must get your dinner. How would you like a tender- 
loin, a salad, and a box of Camembert?" 

He shuffled. "There is no Camembert any more." 
The tragedy of that seemed to overwhelm him. "I 
wish I were dead." 

Cassy laughed. "Now it's the cheese. On Satur- 
day it was the violin. Well, you got it back. What 
will you say if I find some Camembert? Do stop 
meowing. Any one might think you didn't have me." 

At her young laughter, he groaned. "Formerly 
if I let a day go without practising, I noticed it. If 
I let two days go, Toscanini noticed it. Now it's 
weeks and weeks. It's killing me." 

To cheer him, Cassy said gaily : "The artist never 
dies." 

But it did not cheer him. Besides, though Cassy 
had laughed, there had been a tugging at her heart- 
strings. Shabby, unkempt, in a frayed dressing-gown, 
his arm in a dismal sling, he looked so out of it, so 
forlorn, so old. 

He had shuffled away. She bit her lip. Later, 
when he had had his tenderloin and she had depart- 
ment-stored herself, a pint of grocer's burgundy had 
reduced him to tears. 

The day before it had seemed to her that the frock 
would do. But her judgment had been hurried. 
Shops, crowds, the vibrations of both, devitalised and 
confused her. In choosing the frock she had not 
therefore given it the consideration which it perhaps 



THE PALISER CASE 105 

did not merit, and now her mirror shrieked it. The 
frock was not suited to her. Nothing was suited to 
her, except the produce of baronial halls, where the 
simplest thing exceeded the dreams of avarice, or else 
the harlequinades which she herself devised. None 
the less she would have liked to have haa her father 
exclaim and tell her how smart she looked. He 
omitted it. 

"Where are you going?" 

"I told you. Dinner and the opera." 

**Opera! There is no opera to-night. What do 
you mean? What did you tell me?" 

On the table were dishes and the lamentable bottle. 
Cassy, in doubt whether to clear them then or later, 
hesitated. The hesitation he misconstrued. 

"You told me nothing. You tell me nothing. I 
am kept in the dark." 

Cassy, adjusting the wrap which she had left open 
that he might admire the'unadmirable, moved to where 
he sat and touched him. "You're the silliest kind of 
a silly. I told you yesterday. Perhaps the opera was 
last night. But how could I go? Except that old 
black^rag I had nothing to wear. If there is no opera 
to-night, there will be a concert or something. Don't 
you remember now? I was at the telephone." 

He did remember, but apparently the recollection 
displeased. He growled. "Yes. It was that Paliser." 

"Well, why not? If it had not been for him, I 
would not have got the catamount's money and you 
would not have had the burgundy." 

But he was not to be mollified. The growl sharp- 
ened into a snarl. "Paliser! I doift like the breed. 
By God, if " 

The peradventure of that Cassy got before he could 
utter it. Paliser! Of all men! The absurdity con- 



io6 THE PALISER CASE 

vulsed her. Her laughter ran up and down the scale. 

"You're the dearest old duck of a goose I ever 
heard of.'' She turned. Her wrap swished. *1 
only wish you were going too.'' 

Below, in the street, a man, precipitatingly vacating 
the box of a machine, touched his cap at her. "Beg 
pardon, mem. Miss Cara? Mr. Paliser's compliments 
and he's sent a car." 

Cassy glanced at the man, who looked like a Roman 
emperor. From the man she turned to the car. 
Superiorly and soberly finished, it beckoned. Now, 
though, the Caesar was holding open the door. Cassy 
got in. The emperor hopped up. The car leaped. 

On the front seat was a box with her name on it. 
In it was a handful of orchids. The luxury of the 
car, the beauty of the demon-flowers, the flight from 
the walk-up, yet more, perhaps, the caresses and sur- 
renders of spring, affected her. If, she thought, if 
only the things that might be could be the things 
that are ! If only 

On the pale cushions she leaned back. Before her 
a curtain parted. In a wide, marble-flagged hall she 
was looking at a girl who was looking at her. A 
moment before he had said: "That is Miss Austen 
to whom I am engaged." A moment before she had 
seen her picture. The girl was good to look at, so 
good that, without further acquaintance, you knew 
she was good through and through. There was no 
mistaking that. But was she good enough? Was 
any girl good enough for him? And who was that 
with her ? Probably her mother who probably too was 
the catamount's sister. They had a family likeness. 
Then at once the scene shifted. Cassy was in a room 
floored with thick rugs, hung with heavy draperies, and 
in that room the catamount had hired her to sing! 



THE PALISER CASE 107 

But the disgust of it passed. The curtain fell. Cassy 
turned to the window, through which a breath of lilac 
blew. 

She sniffed and stared. Where was she? Where 
was the Riverside? Where, for that matter, was the 
roar of the glittering precinct in which the Splendor 
tossed its turrets to the sky? Here were dirty and 
reeling goblins ; budding trees that bowed and fainted ; 
a stretch of empty road that the scudding car de- 
voured. Afar was a house that instantly approached 
and as suddenly vanished. Dimly beyond was another. 

Cassy, leaning forward, poked at the emperor. *'I 
will thank you to tell me where you are going. Don't 
you know where the Splendor is?" 

Back at her he mumbled, but what she could not 
hear. 

"'Stop at once,'' she called. 

Easily, without a quiver, almost within its own 
length, the car drew in and the Caesar, touching his 
cap, was looking at her. ''Beg pardon, mem. There 
was a note for you in the box. Mr. Paliser said " 

But now Cassy had it. 

Chere demoiselle— though I do not know why I call 
you that, except that it sounds less perfunctory than 
dear Miss Cara, who, I hope will do me the honour 
of dining in the country, if for no better reason than 
because there is no opera to-night and I am her obedient 
servant. 

M. P., JR. 

Cassy looked up from it. "Country! He says 

country. What country? What does this mean?'' 

'The Place, mem. PaHser Place. It's not far now." 

Cassy had not bargained for that. Stories of girls 

decoyed, drugged, spirited away, never heard of again. 



io8 THE PALISER CASE 

sprang at her. Quite as quickly she dismissed them. 
But, being human, she had to find fault. 

"You should have told me before. That will do. 
Drive on." 

She sank back. The car leaped and she smiled. 
Paliser in the role of white-slaver! Her momentary 
alarm was now a mile behind her. But would they 
be alone? Though, after all, what did it matter? Yet 
in Harlem there was a broken old man who would not 
like it. And the basilica investments! If she had 
known she would have worn the black rag. But they 
would do for that tiresome Mrs. Beamish. As yet 
she had not decided what she would sing. The Caro 
nome occurred to her. Under her breath she began 
it and abruptly desisted. The Dear Name suggested 
another. 

For it she substituted the Ombra leggiera. In its 
scatter of trills that mount, as birds mount, there were 
no evocations, though she did begin wondering again 
about Mrs. Beamish's music-room. If it were not too 
impossible she might give the Ernani involame. But 
at that and very unintentionally she thought of Len- 
nox again. 

She made a face and looked through the window. 
As usual she was hungry. The car now was bellow- 
ing through opening gates which, as she looked back, 
a man in brown was closing. On either side was a 
high stone wall, but beyond, as she looked again, was 
an avenue bordered with trees and farther on a white 
house with projecting wings in which was a court, 
an entrance and, above and about the latter, a pillared 
perron. 

From the entrance she could see a man in livery 
hastening. Behind him, a man in black appeared. 
The car stopped. The first man opened the door. 



THE PALISER CASE 109 

Cassy got out. The other man additionally assisted 
by looking on and moving aside. Cassy went into a 
hall where a young person who did not resemble the 
Belle Chocolatiere but whose costume suggested her, 
diligently approached. 

"Would madame care to go upstairs ?'' 

No, madame would not. But Cassy, instinctively 
insolent to pretentionness, was very simple with the 
simple. "Thank you. Will you mind taking my wrap? 
Thank you again.'' 

She looked about the hall. Before she could in- 
ventory it, here was another man. "A nice trick you 
played on me,'' Cassy threw at him. "I was half-way 
before I discovered it. The orchids reconciled me. 
Thank you for them. Who is here?" 

Smiling, deferential, apparently modest, perfectly 
sent out in perfectly cut evening clothes, Paliser took 
her hand. "You are and, incidentally, I am." 

Cassy withdrew her hand. "I suppose you think 
you are a host in yourself." 

"Merely the most fortunate of mortals," replied 
Paliser, who could be eighteenth-century when he 
liked, but who seldom bothered to keep it up. 

Already he had been doing a little inventorying on 
his own account. The basilica frock did not say much 
and what it did say was not to his taste. The Sunday 
night fantasy he much preferred. It was rowdy, but it 
was artistic. But beauty may be dishonoured, it can- 
not be vulgarised. Even in pseudo-Parisianisms Cassy 
was a gem. A doubt though, one that had already 
visited him, returned. Was the game worth the pos- 
sible scandal? 

But now Cassy was getting back at him. "To 
stand about with the most fortunate of mortals ought 



no THE PALISER CASE 

to be a shape of bliss. As it happens, I would rather 
sit" 

''Naturally. Only, worse luck, there is no throne/' 

Cassy gave it to him again : 'There is a court fool, 
though. Where are your cap and bells ?" 

"Not on you at any rate." 

He motioned and Cassy passed on into a room be- 
yond which other rooms extended, each different, but 
all in the same key, a monotone attenuated by lustres 
and the atmosphere, infinitely relaxing, which wealth 
exhales. 

Cassy's thin nostrils quivered. Since childhood, it 
was her first breath of anything similar. It appeased 
and disarmed this anarchist who was also an autocrat. 

"Will you sit here?" 

Paliser was drawing a chair. The table before it 
lacked the adjacent severity. On it were dishes of 
Sevres and of gold. Adjacently were three men. 
Their faces were white and sensual. They moved as 
forms move in a dream. 

The stories of girls decoyed, spirited away, never 
heard of again, returned to Cassy. She had put the 
orchids beside her. Her flexible mouth framed a 
smile. 

"You know, for a moment, I had the rare emotion 
of feeling and fearing that I was being eloped with." 
A pop interrupted. She turned to a man at her 
elbow. "Only half a glass, please, and fill it with 
water." She returned to Paliser, who was opposite. 
"I had been thinking of something. I had not noticed 
where the car was going; and all of a sudden, I found 
myself I did not know where. Then, houp! It got 
me." 

Paliser helped himself to a clam. "The charm of 
elopements passed with the post-chaise. Then they 



THE PALISER CASE in 

had the dignity of danger and pistol shots through the 
windows. Nowadays you go off in a Pullman and re- 
turn as prosaic as you started." 

''Sometimes even more so," Cassy put in. 

Paliser helped himself to another clam. '*You speak 
feelingly and that is only right. This is a very im- 
portant matter. It is a shame that romance should 
have passed with the post-chaise. Why should it not 
revisit us in the motor?" 

Cassy sipped and considered it. "There ought to be 
a law on the subject." 

'There is one. You may be summoned for speed- 
ing and get your name in the papers." 

"Then the dignity of danger remains." 

"But not in clams. Aren't you going to eat any?" 

Cassy laughed. "I had some yesterday with Ma 
Tamby. They did not seem to agree with her. She 
became very noisy about a Mrs. Beamish. Who is 
she?" 

"Mrs. Beamish?" Paliser repeated. He also had 
forgotten. But, with a click, memory raised a latch. 
From behind it the lady emerged. "Oh, she's a cousin 
of mine." 

"Rather distant, I should fancy," said Cassy, who 
was conscious of the delay, though not of the click. 
The delay she had noticed without, however, divining 
the cause. But how could she possibly imagine that 
Mrs. Beamish had been evolved for the sole purpose 
of providing her with basilica opportunities ? Yet the 
fault, if fault there were, resided in her education. 
She had never read Eliphas Levi. She did not know 
that genii can be evoked. 

"Well, she is more my sister's cousin than mine," 
Paliser anxious to get out of it, threw in. "I mean 
my sister has a more cousinly nature." 



112 THE PALISER CASE 

'*I did not know you had a sister/' said Cassy, who 
not only did not know but did not care. "Though, 
come to think of it, a sister with a cousinly nature 
must be so gratifying. Another distant relative, 
isn't she?" 

"Very. She is in Petrograd.'' 

That too was evocative. Cassy began talking about 
the biggest cropper that history has beheld — a tsar 
tossed from the saddle to Siberia! 

Paliser, glad to be rid of Mrs. Beamish, took it up. 
The sordid story of the Russian chief of staff, bought 
by Hindenburg and shot by the Grand-Duke Nicholas, 
whom the tsar then exiled, was told once more. 

"What else could you expect of that Hun?'' Paliser 
concluded. 

"A Hun!" Cassy exclaimed. "Why he is a Ro- 
manov." 

"No more than you are," Paliser replied. "The last 
of the Romanovs married Catherine the Greater. 
There the breed ended. Paul, who followed and who 
married a German drab, was Catherine's son but not 
her husband's. The rest of the litter, down to the 
father of the recent incumbent, all married German 
drabs. The father of the ex-tsar married a Dane. 
The fellow is therefore one-eighth Dane and seven- 
eighths Hun. Totally apart from which, a grocer who 
knew his business would not have had him for clerk. 
His family knew that and, before he had time to be 
tsar, tried to poison him. To the misfortune, not of 
Russia merely, but of Christendom, they failed. If 
they had succeeded the eastern front would be secure. 
As for his wife, I saw her once. It was in the Winter 
Palace which, before it was sacked, was a palace. 
Since the palace of the Caliphs of Cordova crumbled, 



THE PALISER CASE 113 

there has never been a palace like it. It outshone 
them all. Well, that woman tarnished it." 

Meanwhile dishes were brought and removed by 
servants, wooden-faced, yet with ears alert. The sub- 
ject of elopements had seemed promising, but it led to 
nothing. At their own table, talk was gayer. 

Cassy enjoyed the food, the diluted wine, Paliser's 
facile touch. He appeared to know a lot and she sur- 
prised herself by so telling him. "I wish I did,'' she 
added. "I am ignorant as a carp." 

"You know how to charm," he replied. But, see- 
ing her stiffen, he resumed, *'With your voice. That is 
enough. It would be a mistake for you to be versatile. 
Versatility is for the amateur. The artist is a flower, 
never a bouquet." 

It was decently said. In the decency of it, the agree- 
able insult which a compliment usually is was so 
chastened that Cassy flushed and felt that she had. 
It annoyed her, and she attributed it to the wine. 

It was not the wine. Other influences were at work 
on this girl, born to a forsaken purple and whose soul 
was homesick for it. But purple is perhaps pictur- 
esque. It was not that for which her soul sighed, but 
the dream that hides behind it, the dream of going 
about and giving money away. To her the dream had 
been the dream of a dream, realisable only on the top 
rungs of the operatic ladder, which, later, she felt she 
was not destined to scale. None the less there are 
dreams that do come true, though usually, beforehand, 
there is a desert to cross. 

**I wonder if I might have a cavatina?" Paliser 
asked, rising and moving to her. 

Cassy shrugged. I have to pay for my dinner, she 
thought, but she too got up. 

Preceding her, he led the way to a room of which 



114 THE PALISER CASE 

the floor, inlaid and waxed, was rugless. The windows 
were not curtained, they were shuttered. In the cen- 
tre was a grand and a bench. Afar, at the other end, 
masking a door, was a portiere, the colour of hyacinth. 
Near it, were two unupholstered chairs ; one, white ; the 
other, black. Save for these, save too for a succes- 
sion of mirrors and of lights, the room was bare. 
In addition, it was spacious, a long oblong, ceiled high 
with light frescoes, the proper aviary for a song-bird. 

Cassy curtsied to it. At table she had not wanted 
to sing. The mere sight of this room inspired. 

Paliser opened the piano and, seating himself, ran 
his long thin fingers over the keys. He was heating 
them, preluding a score, passing from it to another. 
Presently he looked up; she nodded and the Ah, non 
giunge floated from her. 

''Brava!'' Paliser muttered as the final trill drifted 
away. Again he looked up. "You will be a very 
great artist." 

He did not mean it. He judged her voice colour- 
ful but lacking in carriage. 

Cassy, leaning forward, struck the keys, giving him 
the note and again she sang, this time the Libiamo, 
which, old as the hills, claptrap, utterly detestable, none 
the less served to display the bravura quality of her 
voice. 

When it passed, Paliser sprang up, faced her. ''Open 
your mouth ! There ! Wide T' 

Cassy, familiar with the ritual, obeyed. Paliser 
peered into the strawberry of her throat. It was deep 
as a well and he moved back. 

"You have the organ but you do not know how to 
use it. You don't know how to breathe." 

Cassy forgot that he was young, that she was, that 
in the great room in the great house they were alone. 



THE PALISER CASE 115 

Through the shutters came the smell of lilacs, the 
sorceries of spring. In the sexlessness of art these 
things were unnoticed. For the first time she liked 
him. It was his frankness that drew her, though if 
he had been a frank old woman she would have liked 
him as well. 

"My father says that. He says it is Ma Tamby's 
fault. He can't bear her." 

For a while they discussed it. Paliser maintaining 
that were it not for the war she ought to go to Paris 
and Cassy asserting, though without conviction, that 
the specialty of the Conservatoire consisted in dried 
fruit. 

Finally she said : "It must be late. I have a wrap 
somewhere and oh ! my orchids.'^ 

The young person was summoned. The wrap was 
recovered, the orchids reappeared. 

Paliser, helping Cassy with the wrap, said : "Shall 
I see it here again?" He knew he would but he 
thought it civil to ask. 

Cassy too had her thoughts. The freedom with 
which, during the ham-and-eggs episode, his eyes had 
investigated her, where was it? On Sunday he had 
bored her to tears. That also had gone. During the 
past hour or two he had shown himself reasonably in- 
telligent, unpresuming, without offensiveness of any 
kind. With a movement of the hand she lifted the 
wrap at her neck. "Here ?" 

It occurred to her that she did not know where the 
polished and inlaid floor on which she stood was 
located. Nor did she particularly care. Besides if 
her geography were vague, the floor was pleasant, a bit 
slippery perhaps, though just how slippery she was yet 
to learn. 



ii6 THE PALISER CASE 

"Yes. The day after to-morrow. Why not? I 
would like to run over a score or two with you." 

"Good heavens ! You are not composing an opera, 
are you?'' 

Paliser laughed. "I want to lead you away from 
painted mush into the arms of '' 

"Not Strauss?" Cassy interrupted. "Art does not 
recognise frontiers but the Huns do not either and 
I will not recognise a Hun. Is the car at the door?" 

He saw her out and away, and reentering the house 
went to a room in the wing. It was lined with book- 
cases that you did not have to break your back to 
examine. They began four feet from the floor and 
ended two feet higher. The room contained other 
objects of interest. 

From among the latter, Paliser helped himself to a 
brandy and soda. It had been dry work. The drink 
refreshed him. It stimulated too. Also it suggested. 
He put the glass down and lightly swore at it. 

"Damn Benny ! He has only one thumb." 

For a moment he eyed the glass. Then taking from 
a shelf Gautier's very spiritual account of the de Mau- 
pin, he eyed that. Not for long though. He put it 
back. He did not want to read. He did not want to 
drink. There were several things that he did not want. 
In particular he did not want to be alone. 

He rang, ordered out a car and went sailing in town, 
to a brownstone front where you could lose as much 
money as you liked and not in solitude either. On 
the way, the thought of the damned and thumbless 
Benny accompanied him. 



XV 

THROUGH the inflated proprieties of social New 
York, Paliser's father had driven four-in-hand, 
and at a pace so klinking that social New York cut him 
dead. A lot he cared ! The high-steppers in their showy- 
harness flung along as brazenly as before. He did not 
care. He had learned to since. Age is instructive. It 
teaches that though a man defy the world, he cannot 
ignore it But tastes are inheritable. Monty Paliser 
came in for a few, but not for the four-in-hand. Less 
vigorous than his father, though perhaps more subtle, 
he preferred the tandem. 

In preparation for one that he had in view, he looked 
in, not at a mart, but at a shrine. 

It was on the afternoon succeeding Cassy's visit 
to his slippery floor. The day was radiant, a day not 
of spring, or of summer, but of both. Above was a 
sky of silk wadded with films of white cotton. From 
below there ascended a metallic roar, an odour of 
gasoline — the litanies and incense of the temple, Se- 
mitic and Lampsacene, that New York long since be- 
came. 

Lampsacus worshipped a very great god and wor- 
shipped him uniquely. New York, more devout and 
less narrow, has worshipped him also and has knelt 
too to a god almost as great. Their combined rituals 
have exalted the temple into a department-store where 
the pilgrim obtains anything he can pay for, which is 

117 



ii8 THE PALISER CASE 

certainly a privilege. Youth, beauty, virtue, even 
smiles, even graciousness, Priapus and Mammon be- 
stow on the faithful that garland the altars with cash. 

In Park Avenue, on this radiant afternoon, Mrs. 
Austen and Paliser were occupied with their devotions. 
Mrs. Austen was priestess and Paliser was saying his 
prayers ; that is, he was jingling his money, not audibly, 
but none the less potently in the lady's uplifted eyes. 

"Yes," said the lady, who as usual did not mean it. 
"It is too bad. Margaret, the dear child, is so inex- 
perienced that I feel that I must blame myself. I have 
kept from her — how shall I put it ? Well, everything, 
and when she learned about this, I could not tell her 
that it was all very usual. It would have offended 
her modesty too much." 

Pausing, Mrs. Austen smiled her temple smile. "I 
could not tell her, as somebody expressed it, that act- 
resses happen in the best of families, but I left her to 
decide whether she cared to have them happen in her 
menage." 

The priestess, looking to the north and south, re- 
sumed : *'It might have been different if she had been 
older, more experienced and had really cared for him. 
But how could she care? The child's nature is dor- 
mant. She does not know what love is. He is very 
nice, I have not a word to say against him, not one, 
but a lamp-post would be quite as capable of arousing 
her affection. She accepted him, I grant you that and 
you may well ask why. I know I asked myself the 
same thing, until I remembered that Mr. Austen of- 
fered to take me to Niagara Falls and I married him 
just to go there. At the time I was a mere chit and 
Margaret is little more. Now, I am not, I hope, cen- 
sorious and I do not say that she had a lucky escape. 



THE PALISER CASE 119 

but I can say she thinks so. It was such a rehef that 
it gave her neuralgia. But the child will be up and 
about in no time and then you must come and dine. 
You got my note?'' 

Paliser stifled a yawn. The priestess was, he knew, 
entirely willing to deliver whatever he wanted at 
temple rates. But he knew, too, there were forms and 
ceremonies to be observed. Being bored was one of 
them. 

At another portal he has been obliged to go through 
the forms with Carlotta Tamburini. She also had 
wearied him, though less infernally than Mrs. Austen, 
and of the two he preferred her. The ex-diva was 
certainly canaille, but her paw was open and ready, 
whereas this woman's palm, while quite as itching, 
was delicately withheld. Their gods were identical. 
It was the shrines that differed. The one at which 
the Tamburini presided was plain as a pikestaff. The 
Austen's was bedecked like a girl on her wedding-day. 
Behind each Priapus leered. Above both was the shin- 
ing face of Mammon. 

In the present rites, that which wearied Paliser was 
the recital of the reason of the broken engagement. 
It was broken, that was the end of it, an end which, in 
ordinary circumstances, he would have regretted. 
Ordinarily it would have made the running too easy. 
The hurdles were gone. There were no sticks, no 
fences. It would not even have been a race, just a 
canter. The goal remained but the sporting chance 
of beating Lennox to it would have departed. That 
is the manner in which ordinarily he would have re- 
garded it. But the war, that was to change us all, al- 
ready had changed his views. The draft act had not 
then been passed, yet it was realised that some such 



120 THE PALISER CASE 

act would be passed, and generally it was assumed 
that among the exempt would be men with wives de- 
pendent on them and cogently he had reflected that 
if he married that would be his case precisely. At 
the same time he could not take a possible bride by the 
scruff of the neck and drag her off to a clergyman. 
Though it be to save your hide, such things are not 
done. Even in war-time there are wearisome pre- 
liminaries and these preliminaries, which a broken en- 
gagement abridged, the neuralgia of a possible bride 
prolonged. That was distinctly annoying and a mo- 
ment later, when he had the chance, he vented the an- 
noyance on Lennox. 

*'You got my note?" Mrs. Austen was asking. 

"Yes," he replied, "and I will come with pleasure. 
Meanwhile, if my sympathy is not indiscreet, please 
convey it to your daughter." The kick followed. 
"Though, to be sure, Lennox is a loose fish." 

"He is ?" Mrs. Austen unguardedly exclaimed. Not 
for a moment had she suspected it and, in her surprise, 
her esteem for him jumped. Good heavens! she 
thought. How I have maligned him! 

In the exclamation and the expression which her 
eyes took on, Paliser divined some mental somersault, 
divined too that behind it was something obscure, 
something that she was keeping back. Warily he 
backed. 

"Oh, as for that, loose fish may mean anything. It 
is a term that has been applied to me and I dare say 
very correctly. If I did not live like a monk, I should 
be jailed for my sins." 

He is his father all over again, Mrs. Austen cheer- 
fully reflected and absently asked: "How is he?" 

"Lennox? I haven't an idea." 



THE PALISER CASE 121 

"I mean your father." 

''In a great hurry, thank you. The war has gone 
to his head/' 

"At his age? Surely- 



'He wants me to go," said Paliser, who had no in- 
tention of it whatever and whom subsequent events 
completely exempted. "He is in a hurry for me to 
enlist and in a greater hurry to have me marry." 

Austerely, this pleasant woman grabbed it. "It is 
your duty!" 

That was too much for Paliser, who, knowing as 
well as she did what she was driving at, wanted to 
laugh. Like the yawn, he suppressed it. 

The priestess's austerity faded. A very fair mimic 
of exaltation replaced it. "Whoever she is, how proud 
she will be ! A war-bride !" 

But Paliser, who had his fill, was rising and, 
abandoning histrionics, she resumed: "The 24th at 
eight; don't forget!" Then as he passed from the 
portal, the priestess lifted her hands. "What a fish! 
Fast or loose, what a fish !" , 

Above her Mammon glowed, behind her leered 
Priapus. 

Through the sunny streets, Paliser drove to the 
Athenseum, where everybody was talking war. The 
general consensus of ignorance was quite normal. 

Lennox, seated with Jones at a window, was sum- 
marising his own point of view. "In a day or two I 
shall run down to Mineola. Perhaps they will take me 
on at the aviation field. Anyway I can try." 

Jones crossed himself. He is signing his death- 
warrant, he thought. But he said: "Take you, 
Icarus. They will fly away with you. You will be- 
come a cavalier of the clouds, a toreador of the aerial 



1122 THE PALISER CASE 

arena, an archangel soaring among the EoHan melo- 
dies of shrapnel. I envy, I applaud, but I cannot emu- 
late. The upper circles are reserved for youth and 
over musty tomes I have squandered mine. I am 
thirty-two by the clock and I should hie me to the 
grave-digger that he may take my measure. And yet 
if I could — if I could! — I would like to be one of the 
liaison chaps and fall if I must in a shroud of white 
swords." 

Sombrely Lennox considered his friend. '*Your 
shroud of white swords is ridiculous/' 

Jones agreed with him. To change the subject, he 
rattled a paper. ''Have you seen this? There is an 
account here of a man who shot his girl. He thought 
her untrue. Probably she was." 

"Reason enough then," said Lennox, who latterly 
had become very murderous. 

*'I wonder! Anyway, though the paper does not 
say so, that was not his reason. The poor devil killed 
her not because she had been untrue, but because he 
loved her. He killed the thing he loved the best out of 
sheer affection. Unfortunately, for his virtues, he 
loved her innocently, ignorantly, as most men do love, 
without any idea that the one affection worth giving is 
a love that nothing can alter, a love that can not only 
forgive but console." 

*'Is that what you call originality?" Lennox severely 
enquired. 'If so, I have never run across any of it in 
your books." 

"Heaven forbid that you should, dear boy. I live 
by the sweat of my pen. Originality never has, and 
never will make a best-seller." 

It was while Jones was airing these platitudes that 
Paliser entered the room. He approached the two 



THE PALISER CASE 123 

men. Lennox at once got up, turned his back, marched 
away. 

A few days later, Jones, in reviewing the incident, 
wondered whether Lennox could, even then, have sus- 
pected. But, at the moment, in apology for him, he 
merely lied. 

''I frightened him off with shop-talk." 

Paliser took the vacant seat. "What are you writ- 
ing?" 

"Cheques. There is nothing simpler and, except 
cash, nothing so easily understood. To keep my hand 
in I will write one now." 

Then Jones too got up. Paliser, to whom solitude 
was always irksome, found himself alone. But his 
solitude was not prolonged. A man joined him. An- 
other followed. Presently there was a group. 

From the table where Jones had gone, the inkbeast 
saw and seeing thought : Empires may totter, nations 
fall. The face of the earth will be changed. But 
the toady endureth forever. 



CHAPTER XVI 

T T was another perfect day, a forenoon after Vero- 
•*• nese, a day of which the charm was heightened by 
the witcheries that Harlem knows — the shouted temp- 
tations of push-carts; the pastimes of children, so 
noisy, so dirty, so dear ! the engaging conversation of 
German ladies ; the ambient odour of cabbage and the 
household linen fluttering gaily on the roofs. It was 
rapturous. Just beyond was a sewer — the Hudson. 
But above was the turquoise of the mid-April day. 

Cassy went by and on, turned a corner, crossed the 
street, descended into a cave, smiled sweetly at a man 
who was closing a door and who, seeing that smile, 
smiled at it, smiled wantonly, held the door open, yet, 
noting then but an arid blankness where her smile had 
been, banged the door and shouted fiercely : "Hundred- 
thirty-seven-street-next." 

The train crashed on. Cassy, her nose in the air, 
assumed a barbed-wire attitude, her usual defensive 
against the conjecturing eyes of old men and the 
Hello, Kid ! glances of New York's subtle youth. This 
attitude, which enabled her to ignore everything and 
everybody, enabled her also to think of what she liked, 
or of what she did not like, a circumstance that hap- 
pened to her then and which was induced by her father. 

That day he had been terrible. The tragedies of 
the fated Atrides, what were they to his? A lamenta- 
tion longer than Jeremiah's followed. His arm, his 

124 



THE PALISER CASE 125 

skill, his art, his strength, his money, everything, for 
all he knew even his daughter, was taken from him. 
How long, O Lord, how long! And presto! da capo, 
all over and afresh she had it. 

Then, shaking a finger, he cried : "Where were you 
last night?'' 

Cassy, reduced to tears, exclaimed at him. "Why 
here. Where else?'* 

Darkly he eyed her. "Yes, but earlier, before you 
came in, where were you?'' 

Cassy could not help it, she shook. A moment be- 
fore she had been crying whole-heartedly, associating 
herself, as a daughter may, in her father's woe. But 
that was too much. With the tears still in her eyes, 
she laughed. "Gracious goodness! You don't take 
me for a fly-by-night?" 

The noble marquis, who had been standing, sat 
down. Before him, on the ginger of the wall, hung 
the portrait of the gorgeous swashbuckler. Behind 
the latter were portraits, dim, remote, visionary, of 
other progenitors who probably never existed. But he 
was convinced that they had, convinced that always, 
sword in hand, they had upheld the honour of the 
Casa-Evora. No, surely, his daughter had not for- 
feited that. No, certainly, he did not suspect her. 
But there was much that he did not understand. The 
misery of the mystery of things overcame him. He 
wept noisily. 

Cassy, who had been seated, stood up. She had on 
her rowdy frock. She also had on a hat — if you can 
call a tam-o'-shanter a hat. Therewith were white 
gloves which she had got at the basilica and which as 
yet were free from benzine. Her father had distressed 
her inhumanly, but she had survived it, as youth sur- 



126 THE PALISER CASE 

vives anything, and she looked then, not tear-stained in 
the least, but, as usual, very handsome. 

Bending forward, she touched him. 'There, you 
dear old thing, don't take on so. I have been planning 
something fat for you. Everything will come out 
Tight Just wait and see^ — and when you're hungry, 
there's some nice cold veal in the kitchy." 

But though in the kitchen there was cold veal, which 
it were perhaps poetic to describe as nice, yet even 
the poetry of that was exceeded by the poetry of the 
plan. Cassy had planned nothing lean or fat, nothing 
whatever. She had spoken as a little mother may, 
in an effoit to console, though perhaps prompted sub- 
COtlscioUsIy by the inscrutable possibilities of life. Any- 
thing may happen. Already on the stage of which 
destiny is the scene-shifter, the fates, in their eternal 
role of call-boy, were summoning the actors to the 
drama in which the leading role was hers and on 
which the curtain was about to rise. 

Her father, comforted by the imaginary, looked 
tip. She had gone. From the sling he took his arm. 
The elbow was stiff, though less stiff than it had been. 
Moreover the wrist moved readily and the fingers 
were as flexible as before. Consoled by that, com- 
forted already, he shuffled into the kitchen and con- 
sumed the cold veal. 

Now, in the crashing car, Cassy's thoughts went 
forward and back. Her father's question, that had 
succeeded in being both pointed and pointless, returned. 
She smiled at it. It would take another Don Juan 
than Mozart's to entice me, she serenely reflected. 
Yet, after all, would he have to be so remarkable? At 
any rate he would have to be fancy free and not en- 



THE PALISER CASE 127 

gaged as was a certain person who had not so much 
as said Boo! 

Cassy coloured. Always corsetless, she was not 
straight-laced. Given the attraction and with it the 
incentive, and that tam-o'-shanter might have gone 
flying over the windmill. The tam was very safe. 
There was no incentive and, though there was no 
moral corset either, she was temperamentally unable 
to go poaching on another's preserves. Barring 
the chimerical, that any girl may consider and most 
girls do, she was straight as a string. A shabby old 
man had no need to ask. 

''Seventy-second !'* The trainman bawled unmolli- 
.fiably at her. 

Cassy left a certain person there. Into her thoughts 
another man had hopped. She surveyed him. He 
was good-looking. He was rich. These attributes 
said nothing. A beautiful male — always an anomaly 
— never attracts a beautiful woman. That other 
anomaly, a man of inherited wealth, is disgusting to 
the anarchist. Cassy was a beauty and an anarchist. 
She was also an aristocrat. The tattered portieres of 
the House of Casa-Evora, the bedrabbled robes of the 
marquisate, all that was ridiculous to her. She was 
an aristocrat none the less. She had a high disdain 
for low things. In the kitchen, which she called the 
kitchy, she bent her back but not her head. Her 
head was unbowed. She sullied her hands but not 
her conscience. A dirty act she could net perform. 
Aristocrat and anarchist, she was also an artist. With 
simple things and simple people, she was simple as 
you please. Stupidity and pretentiousness enraged 
her. The philistine and the ignoble she loathed. 

Now, through the windows of her soul, she siir- 



128 THE PALISER CASE 

veyed him. His looks, his money, said nothing. On 
the other hand there was about him an aroma that 
appealed. The aroma was not the odour that local 
society exhales. At that Cassy's nose was in the air. 
A lot of nobodies occupied with nothing — and talk- 
ing about it! Such was her opinion of the gilded 
gang, an opinion which Paliser — to do him the jus- 
tice that the historian should — would have had put to 
music and arranged for trumpets. It was not that, 
therefore. The aroma was more fetching. The man 
talked her language, liked what she liked, never pre- 
sumed. In considering these factors, she considered 
her gloves. Thank God, they did not smell of ben- 
zine! 

"Grand Central!'' 
k Cassy, abandoning Paliser there, went on to Fifth 
Avenue, where, with the protection of cross-town traf- 
fic, she attempted to get to the other side. But half- 
way, she saw, or thought she saw, the young woman 
to whom a certain person was engaged. She turned 
to look, backed into the traffic-sign and put it in mo- 
tion. Instantly motors were careering at each other. 
Instantly a purple policeman grown suddenly black, 
was smitten with St. Vitus. 

Dancing and bellowing as he danced, he righted 
the sign and swore at Cassy, who, for added outrage, 
had flung herself at him and was smiling sweetly in 
his swollen face. About them the torrent poured. 
Then all at once, in a riot that afterwards seemed to 
ker phantasmagoric, the policeman raised a forefinger 
in salute. From the maelstrom she was hoisted bodily 
into a car. Somebody, the policeman probably, was 
boosting her from behind. Never had she suffered 



THE PALISER CASE 129 

such indignities ! To accentuate them, somebody else 
was shouting in her face. 

*Tve saved your hfe, you'll have to marry me/' 

"Well, I declare!" Cassy, horribly ruffled, exclaimed 
at Paliser, who had the impudence to laugh. She 
smoothed the smock, patted the hat, passed a gloved 
hand over her nose. 

''You're all there," Paliser, amused by the mimic, 
was telling her. "What is more, one pick-me-up de- 
serves another." 

With his stick, he poked at the mechanician, ges- 
tured with it, indicating a harbour. 

The car veered and stopped at a restaurant that 
had formerly resided in Fourteenth Street, but which 
had moved, as the heart of Manhattan moved, and 
was then thinking of moving again. 

In the entrance were Cantillon and Ogston, agree- 
able young men, who stood aside for Cassy, raised 
their hats at Paliser, nudging each other with un- 
fathomable good-fellowship. 

"A peach!" 

"No, a pair!" 

Their pleasantries were lost. Cassy and Paliser 
moved on and in to the Fifth Avenue room, crowded 
as usual on this high noon. But what are head-wait- 
ers for? Promptly there was a table, one not too 
near the orchestra and yet which gave on the street. 

"What would you dislike the least?" Paliser from 
over a bill-of-fare inquired. He had brought his hat 
and stick with him and, in spite of a waiter's best 
efforts, had put both on the floor. 

I am not fit to be seen, thought Cassy, looking about 
at two and three hundred dollar frocks and at blouses 
that were almost as cheap. 



130 THE PALISER CASE 

Paliser, turning to the waiter, translated passages 
from the menu. ''Surprised tomatoes, cocottish eggs, 
supreme on a sofa, ice Aurora Boreahs. And a 
baked potato/' He turned to Cassy. ''Barring the 
ice, a baked potato is the only thing in which they 
can't stick grease." 

''Et comme vin, monsieur?" enquired the waiter 
who ought to have been at the front. 

"Aqua pura. But probably you have not got it. 
Celestial Vichy, then." He looked again at. Cassy. 
"What else might displease your ladyship?" 

"Do stop talking like a low comedian," Cassy vexa- 
tiously retorted. "If you had not used force I would 
not be here. I could not make a row at the door." 

"No, one scene on Fifth Avenue is enough for one 
day." 

"I should say so and it was you who made it. I 
was going quietly about my business when I was der- 
ricked into your car." 

"Not at all. You threw yourself at my head. If 
it had not been for me, the policeman would have 
marched you off to prison." 

Cassy laughed. "The dear man ! He knew I would 
be worse off with you." 

"Yes. He was certainly perspicacious. Where did 
you say you were going?" 

Cassy removed her gloves. "Before I was attacked? 
To a music-shop. There is a song I want to get for 
Mrs. Thingumagig's, Mrs. Beamish " 

"Mrs. Who?" Paliser asked. Again he had forgot- 
ten the lady. But from one of memory's pantries 
her wraith peered out. "Ah, yes, of course! Well, 
we can stop by for it and you can run it over in the 



THE PALISER CASE 131 

country tonight. You remember that you are to dine 
with me, don't you?" 

Cassy lifted a lip as a dog does when about to bite. 
**Remember it, I have thought of nothing else.'' 

But now the waiter put a dish between them and 
Paliser said : ''You make me feel like this surprised 
tomato." 

Then came the bite. "While you are about it, you 
can feel like both of them. I am not going." 

Argument weakens everything and wearies every- 
body — except the young. The mouths of youth are 
naturally full of objections and insults. Were it other- 
wise, young people would be too servile to the past, 
too respectful to the present and the future would not 
know them as guides. 

Paliser, young in years, but old at heart, omitted 
to argue. He did what is perhaps superior, he 
changed the subject. ''What is this song you were 
speaking of? Why not try that thing of Rimsky- 
Korsakov, the 'Chanson Hindoue' ?" 

Then, throughout that course and the courses that 
followed, peace descended upon them. Even to talk 
music soothes the savage breast. It soothed Cassy and 
to such an extent that, finally, when the ice came she 
made no bones about admitting it was her favourite 
dish. 

"Du cafe, monsieur? Des liqueurs?" the slacker 
asked. 

But no, Paliser did not wish anything else, nor did 
Cassy. The ice sufficed. She ate it slowly, a little 
forkful at a time, wishing that her father could share 
it, wishing that he, too, could have sofa'd supremes 
and some one to pay for them. She raised her napkin. 



132 THE PALISER CASE 

Paliser lit a cigarette and said: "You made no 
reply to that statement of mine." 

She stared. "What statement?" 

"About saving your Hfe.'' 

"And ruining my reputation ?" 

"Well, life comes first. I said you would have to 
marry me to pay for it. Will you?" 

Cassy lowered the napkin. He was talking in jest 
she knew, or thought she knew, but the subject was 
not to her taste, though if he had been serious she 
would have disliked it still more. She wanted to give 
it to him, but no fitting insolence occurred to her and 
she turned to the window before which two Japanese 
were passing, with the air, certainly feigned, which 
these Asiatics display, of being hilarious and naif. 

"Will you?" he repeated. 

"Will I what?" 

"Marry me?" 

Perhaps he did mean it, she thought. He was cheeky 
enough for anything. But now he was prodding her. 
"Say yes. Say to-morrow; say to-day." 

She turned on him. "Why not yesterday? Or is 
it just another of your pearls of thought? You are 
simply ridiculous." 

Paliser put down his cigarette. "That is the proper 
note. Marriage is ridiculous. But it is the most an- 
cient of human institutions. Divorce must have been 
invented at least three weeks later." 

Cassy did not mean to laugh and did not want to, 
but she could not help herself and she exploded it. 
"You are so ardent !" 

Innocently Paliser caressed his chin. He had made 
her laugh and that was a point gained. But such 



THE PALISER CASE 133 

pleasure as he may have experienced he succeeded in 
conceaHng. 

''Again the proper note ! I am ardent. Yet — shall 
I admit it? — formerly I walked in darkness. It is 
all due to my father. I have forgotten the prophet 
preaching on the hillside who denounced respectabil- 
ity as a low passion. But my father, while deeply 
religious, has views more advanced. He dotes on re- 
spectability. He tried to instil it into me and, alas! 
how vainly! I was as the Wind, the light was with- 
held and continued to be until, well, until a miracle 
occurred. You appeared, I was healed, I saw and I 
saw but you. What do you say?'' 

'That your conversation is singularly edifying." 
In speaking, Cassy gathered her gloves with an air 
slightly hilarious but not in the least naif. Before 
Paliser could cut in, she added: "If I don't hurry, 
Ma Tamby will be out and I shall lose my lesson." 

Paliser shifted. She is devilish pretty, he thought. 
But is she worth it? For a second he considered the 
possible scandal which he had considered before. 

He stood up. *'Let me take you. We can stop for 
the song on the way." 



XVIII 

MY Carlottatralala ! Dear Carlottatralala !'' 
Lightly at the door, Cassy strung the words 
to a mazourka. Her voice twisted, swung, danced into 
a trill that was captured by echoes that carried it 
diminishingly down the stairway of the mansion where 
Carlotta Tamburini lived. 

"Eh?" 

Partially the door opened. A fat slovenly woman 
showed an unpowdered nose, a loose unpainted mouth, 
and, at sight of Paliser, backed. 'Tor God's sake! 
One moment, dearie. Straight ahead. With you in 
two shakes." 

Cassy, her yellow frock swishing, led the way to a 
room furnished with heaped scores, with a piano, a 
bench, chairs and a portrait, on foot, of a star before 
the fall. Adjacently were framed programmes, the 
faded tokens of forgetless and forgotten nights, and, 
with them, the usual portraits of the usual royalties, 
but perhaps unusually signed. The ex-diva had at- 
tended to that herself. 

Paliser, straddling the bench, put his hat on the 
piano and looked at Cassy, who had gone to the win- 
dow. It was not the palaces opposite that she saw. 
Before her was a broken old man revamped. In his 
hand was a baton which he brandished demoniacally 
at an orchestra of his own. The house foamed with 
faces, shook with applause, and without, at the glow- 

134 



THE PALISER CASE 135 

ing gates, a chariot carried him instantly to the seren- 
ities of elaborate peace. 

"It won't take over an hour." 

The vision vanished. Across the way, in a window 
opposite, a young man was dandling, twirling one 
side of a moustache, cocking a conquering eye. Cassy 
did not see him. Directly behind her another young 
man was talking. She did not hear. 

On leaving the restaurant and, after it, the music- 
shop, the car had taken them into the Park where 
Paliser, alleging that he was out of matches, had 
handed her into another restaurant where more Vichy 
was put before her and, with it, that question. 

The air was sweet with lilacs. On the green be- 
yond Cassy could see them, could see, too, a squirrel 
there that had gone quite mad. It flew around and 
around, stopped suddenly short, chattered furiously 
and with a flaunt of the tail, disappeared up a tree. 

"What a dear !'' was Cassy's reply to that question. 

But Paliser gave her all the rope that she wanted. 
He had no attraction for her, he knew it, and in view 
of other experiences, the fact interested him. It had 
the charm of novelty to this man who, though young, 
was old; who, perhaps, was born old; born, as some 
are, too old in a world too young. 

He struck a match and watched the little blue-gold 
flame flare and subside. It may have seemed to him 
typical. Then he looked up. 

"Frankly, I have no inducements to offer, and, by 
the same token, no lies. It would be untrue if I said 
I loved you. Love is not an emotion, it is a habit, one 
which it takes time to form. I have had no oppor- 
tunity to acquire it, but I have acquired another. I 



136 THE PALISER CASE 

have formed the habit of admiring you. The task was 
not difficult. Is there anything in your glass?" 

''A bit of cork, I think/' said Cassy, who was hold- 
ing the glass to the light and who was holding it more- 
over as though she had thoughts for nothing else. 

But her thoughts were agile as that squirrel. A 
why not? Why not? Why not? was spinning in 
them, spinning around and around so quickly that it 
dizzied her. Then, like the squirrel, up a tree she flew. 
For herself, no. She did not want him, never had 
wanted him, never could. 

''May I have it?" Paliser took the glass. Save for 
subsiding bubbles, and the bogus water, there w^as 
nothing there. *'Will you take mine? I have not 
touched it." 

Cassy took it from him, drank it, drank it all. Her 
thoughts raced on. She was aware of that, though 
with what they were racing she could not tell. 

"I don't know why I am so thirsty." 

Paliser knew. He knew that the taste of perplexity 
is very salt. She was considering it, he saw, and he 
payed out the rope. 

"People who claim to be wise are imbeciles. But 
people who claim to be happy are in luck. I have no 
pretensions to wisdom but I can claim to be lucky 
if " 

Cassy, her steeple-chasing thoughts now out of 
hand, was saying something and he stopped. 

*'It is very despicable of me even to listen to you. 
I don't think I would have listened, if you had not 
been frank. But you have had the honesty not to pre- 
tend. I must be equally sincere. I " 

It was Paliser's turn. With a laugh he interrupted. 
"Don't. A little sincerity is a dangerous thing and a 



THE PALISER CASE 137 

great deal of it must be fatal. Besides I know it all 
by heart. I am the son of rich and disreputable people. 
That is not my fault, and, anyway, it is all one to 
you. But what you mean is that, should you consent, 
the consideration will not be — er — personal with me 
or — er — spiritual with you, but — er — just plain and 
simple materialism.'' 

Cassy looked wonderingly at him. It was surprising 
how quickly and how completely he had nailed it. But 
into the bewilderment there crept something else. 
*'Yes, and I am ashamed to look myself in the face." 

Paliser gave a tug at the rope. 'Then don't do 
that either. Look at me. Matrimony is no child's 
play. It is like a trip to England — close confinement 
with the chance of being torpedoed. Interference is 
the submarine that sinks good ships. If you consent, 
there is only one thing on which I shall insist, but I 
shall insist on it absolutely." 

Visibly the autocrat stiffened. ''Shall you, indeed !" 

Paliser pounded, or affected to pound, on the table. 
''Yes, absolutely." 

You may go to Flanders then, thought Cassy, but, 
with that look which she could summon and which was 
tolerably blighting, she said, "Ah! The drill ser- 
geant !" 

"Yes, and here is the goose-step. The drill ser- 
geant orders that you must always have your own 
way in everything." 

Considerably relaxed by that, Cassy laughed. *'You 
are very rigorous. But don't you think it is rather 
beside the mark?" 

"Beside it !" Paliser exclaimed. "It tops it, goes all 
over it, covers it, covers the grass, covers everything — 
except a fair field, a free rein and every favour." 



138 THE PALISER CASE 

Cassy was gazing beyond where the squirrel had 
been. A limousine passed. A surviving victoria fol- 
lowed. Both were superior. So also were the oc- 
cupants. They were very smart people. You could 
tell it from the way they looked. They had an air 
contemptuous and sullen. The world is not good 
enough for them, Cassy thought. In an hour, car 
and carriage would stop. The agreeable occupants 
would alight. They would enter fastidious homes. 
Costly costumes they would exchange for costumes 
that were costHer. They would sit at luxurious boards, 
lead the luxurious life and continue to, until they died 
of obesity of the mind. 

None of that! Cassy decided. But already the pic- 
ture was fading, replaced by another that showed a 
broken old man, without a penny to his name, or a 
hope save in her. 

From the screen, she turned to Paliser, who, aware 
of her absence, had omitted to recall her. Now, though, 
that she again condescended to be present, he ad*, 
dressed her in his Oxford voice. 

'*But what was I saying? Yes, I remember, some 
thing that somebody said before me. Nowadays 
every one marries except a few stupid women and a 
few very wise men. Yet, then, as I told you, I have 
no pretensions to wisdom.'' 

"Nor I to stupidity,'' Cassy thoughtlessly retorted. 
Yet at once, realising not merely the vanity of the 
boast but what was far worse, the construction that it 
invited, she tried to recall it, tangled her tongue, got 
suddenly red and turned away. 

"You do me infinite honour then,'' said Paliser, who 
spoke better than he knew. But her visible discom- 
fort delighted him. He saw that she wanted to wriggle 



THE PALISER CASE 139 

out of it and, like a true sportsman, he gave her an 
opening in which she would trip. 

^'Matrimony is temporary insanity with permanent 
results. You must not incur them blindfolded. Do 
me the favour to look this way. Before you sits a 
pauper.'* 

In the surprise of that, Cassy did look and walked 
straight into it. "What?" 

'"Precisely." In sheer enjoyment he began lying 
frankly and freely. He lied because lying is a part of 
the game, because it is an agreeable pastime and be- 
cause, too, if she swallowed it — and why shouldn't 
she ? — it might put a spoke in such wheels as she might 
otherwise and subsequently set going. 

"Precisely," he repeated. "It is different with my 
father. 'My father has what is called a regular in- 
come. One of these days I shall inherit it. It will 
keep us out of the poorhouse. But meanwhile I have 
only the pittance that he allows me." 

Yes, Cassy sagaciously reflected. What with Pal- 
iser Place, its upkeep and the rest of it, it must be a 
pittance. But the lie behind it, which she mistook 
for honesty, tripped her as it was intended to do. A 
moment before she might have backed out. Now, in 
view of the lie that she thought was truth, how could 
she? It would be tantamount to acknowledging she 
was for sale but that he hadn't the price. Red al- 
ready, at the potential shame of that she got redder. 

Paliser, who saw ever)i:hing, saw the heightening 
flush, knew what it meant, knew that he was landing 
her, but knew, too, that he must bear the honours 
modestly. 

"Bread and cheese in a cottage and with you!" he 
exclaimed. "But, forgive me, I am becoming lyrical." 



140 THE PALISER CASE 

He turned, summoned the waiter, paid for the water, 
paid for the service and took from the man his stick. 

Cassy went with him to the car. She had made no 
reply. If she were to take the plunge, there was no 
use shivering on the brink. But what would her 
father say? He would be furious of course, though 
how his fury would change into benedictions when he 
found himself transported from the walk-up, lifted 
from Harlem and cold veal ! Presently there would be 
a flower in his button-hole and everything that went 
with the flower. Moreover, if the poor dear wanted 
to be absurd, she would let him parade his marquisate ; 
while, as for herself, she would have to say good-bye 
to so much that had been so little. Good-bye ! Addio 
per sempre ! The phrase from La Tosca came to her. 
It told of kisses and caresses that she had never had. 
Yet, beneath her breath, she repeated it. Addio per 
sempre ! 

Then suddenly, without transition, she felt extraor- 
dinarily at peace with herself, with everybody, with 
everything. After all, she did not know, stranger 
things had happened, she might even learn to care 
for him and to care greatly. But whether she did or 
she did not, she would be true as steel — truer! He 
had been so nice about it! Yes, she might, particu- 
larly since she had made a clean breast of it and he 
knew she was marrying him for what it pleased him 
to describe as his pittance. 

The car now was flying up the Riverside. An om- 
nibus passed. From the roof, a country couple spotted 
the handsome girl and the handsome young man who 
were lolling back so sumptuously, and the lady 
stranger, pointing, said to her gentleman: "Vander- 
bilt folk, I guess, ain't they dandy !'' 



THE PALISER CASE 141 

Behind the lady sat a novelist who was less en- 
thusiastic. Another girl gone gay, was his mental 
comment. Well, why not? he reflected, for Jones' 
prejudices were few and far between. Besides, he 
added : Les Portugais sont toujours gais. But he had 
other things to think about and he dismissed the in- 
cident, which, in less than a week, he had occasion to 
recall. 

Cassy, meanwhile, after serenading a fat woman's 
door and looking from a palatial window at the mov- 
ing-pictures of her thoughts, at last heard Paliser, 
who, already, had twice addressed her. 

''It won't take over an hour or so." 

But now the Tamburini, ceremoniously attired in 
a wrapper, strode in and Paliser, who had been strad- 
dling the music-bench, stood up. 

The fact that they had come together and were to- 
gether, had already darkly enlightened the fallen star 
and as she strode in she exclaimed with poetry and 
fervour : *'Two souls with but a single thought !" 

Paliser took his hat. ''We are a trifle better pro- 
vided. I have as many as three or four thoughts and 
one of them concerns a license. I am going to get it." 

His face was turned from Cassy and his eyes, 
which he had fastened on his hostess, held caveats, 
commands, rewards. 

Massively she flung herself on Cassy. "Dearie, I 
weep for joy!" 

Cassy shoved her away. "Not on me, Tamby." 

But the dear lady, in attacking her, shot a glance 
at Paliser. It was very voluble. 

Cassy, too, was looking at him. Her education had 
been thorough. She knew any number of useless 
things. In geography, history, and the multiplication- 



142 THE PALISER CASE 

table she was versed. But Kent's Commentaries, pas- 
sionate as they are, were beyond her ken. The laws 
to which they relate were also. None the less, on the 
subject of one law she had an inkling, vague, unpre- 
cised, and, for all she knew to the contrary, incorrect. 
She blurted it. ''Don't I have to go, too?'' 

Ma Tamby grabbed it. ''Go where, dearie ?" 

'Tor the license?" 

Ma Tamby tittered. ''Not unless you love the song 
of the subway. The license is a man's job." Twist- 
ing, she giggled at Paliser. "But not hard labour, 
he, he!" 

"A life-term, though," he answered and added: 
"I'll go at once." 

That settled it for Cassy. A chair stretched its 
arms to her. She sat down. 

Wildly the fat woman gesticulated. "Dearie, no! 
But how It gets me ! As true as gospel I dreamed so 
much about it that it kept me awake. I do believe I 
have a pint of champy. Shall I fetch it? I must." 

Coldly Cassy considered her. "Don't. You'll only 
get tight." 

Paliser, making for the door, called back: "Save 
a drop for me." 

"May the Lord forgive me," sighed the fat woman. 
"I was that flustered I forgot to congratulate him. 
But how it takes me back ! Dearie, I too was young ! 
I too have loved ! Ah, gioventu primavera della vita ! 
Ah, I'amore! Ah! Ah!" 

"You make me sick," said Cassy. 

"Dearie " 

"Be quiet. My father won't like it and I can't lie to 
him about it. But I shall need some things and you 
will have to go for them. What will you tell him ?" 



THE PALISER CASE 143 

With one hand, the fat woman could have flattened 
Cassy's father out. But not his tongue. The nest of 
vipers there, even then hissed at her. 

''Why, dearie, to-morrow you'll have your pick of 
Fifth Avenue and until then, if you need a tooth-brush, 
I'll get one for you around the corner." 

''But my father will have to be told something. 
He'll worry to death. I might write though, and put 
on a special delivery. Look here. Have you any note 
paper that isn't rotten with scent? If not, I do be- 
lieve I'll chuck it." 

"For God's sake, dearie!" 

Hastily, in search of scentless paper, the fat woman 
made off. 



XIX 

/^ VER the way, on the jimcrack of the stately man- 
^^ sion opposite, the westering sun had put an aig- 
rette of gold. The young man with the conquering 
eye had gone. A lovely Jewess, leaning like a gar- 
goyle, violently threatened some Ikey in the unlovely 
street below. Above was a pallid green. Beyond, 
across the river, the sun, poised on a hill-top, threw 
from its eternal palette shades of salmon and ochre that 
tinted an archipelago of slender clouds. But in the 
street was the music of carefree lads, playing base- 
ball, exchanging chaste endearments. There too was 
the gaiety of little trulls, hasty and happy on their 
roller-skates. While perhaps to generalise these de- 
lights, a trundled organ tossed a ragtime. The charm 
was certainly affecting and that charm the horn of 
Paliser's approaching car merely increased. 

Long since the letter had gone and, with it, an- 
other to Mrs. Yallum. In the former, Cassy had tried 
to gild the pill, yet without succeeding in disguising it. 

Dear Daddy: 

You are the best man in the world and the next best 
your little girl is to marry now, right away, and become 
Mrs. Monty Paliser. But my heart will be with you and 
so will Mrs. Yallum. Don't fuss with her, there's a 
dear, and take your medicine regularly and be ready to 
give me your blessing as soon as I can run in, which 
will be at the first possible moment, when I shall have 

144 



THE PALISER CASE 145 

more news, good news, better news, best of daddies, 

A whirlwind of kisses, 
Cassy. 

Adjacently, on the upper reaches of Broadway, Ma 
Tamby was shopping. The sun now, gone from the 
river, was painting other spheres. From a corner, 
shadows crept. They devoured the floor, absorbed 
the piano, assimilated the room. They left pits where 
they passed. They enveloped Cassy. 

Suddenly, she shivered. 

She had been far away, outside of the world, in a 
region to which the clamouring street could not mount. 
Her thoughts had lifted her to a land that had the 
colours, clear and yet capricious, of which dreams are 
made. There beauty stood, and truth with beauty, and 
so indistinguishably that the two were one. But truth, 
detaching herself, showed her candid face. The 
shadows elongating, reached up and darkened it. The 
candour remained, but the candour had become ter- 
rible. Cassy saw it. She saw that the land to which 
she had been lifted was the land of beauty and horror. 
It was then she shivered. 

Instantly something touched her. There was no 
one. The land, the beauty, the horror had faded. No 
longer on the heights, she was in a trivial room in Har- 
lem. She was awake. She was absolutely alone. 
None the less something that was nothing, something 
invisible, inaudible, intangible, imperceptible, some- 
thing emanating from the depths where events crouch, 
prepared to pounce, had touched her. She knew it, 
she felt it. Her impulse was to scream, to rush away. 
But from what? It was all imaginary. Common- 
sense, that can be so traitorous, told her that. Then, 



146 THE PALISER CASE 

immediately, before the wireless from the unknown, 
which modern occultism calls the impact, could impel 
her, the room was invaded. 

Ma Tamby, tramping in, switching on the Hghts, was 
exclaiming and gesticulating at her and at Paliser, who 
had followed and who was standing in the doorway. 

"Dearie ! For God's sake ! The child's asleep ! In 
all my born days I never knew the likes of that !" 

Icily Cassy eyed her. "What have you there?'' 

"Where? What? This?" Feelingly the woman 
exhibited a nice, big package. "Why, the things I 
bought for you!" 

"And do you for a moment suppose that I am going 
to carry a bundle?" 

"Saints alive, child ! Didn't you tell me " 

But now Paliser, in his cultured voice, intervened. 
"If I may have it ?" He took it, moved to the window, 
leaned from it, called: "Mike! You see this? Then 
see too that you don't muff it." 

The bundle vanished. 

He turned to Cassy. "I telephoned to Dr. Grantly. 
He is a clergyman. It might seem uncivil to keep 
him waiting." 

Cassy saw him at once — a starchy old man, with a 
white tie and little side whiskers, who lived — and 
would die — in a closed circle of thought. 

Then again that nothing touched her, though, be- 
cause of the others, more lightly, less surely. But it 
touched her. She was quite conscious of it, equally 
conscious that there was still time, that she could still 
desist, that she had only to say that she would not, 
that she had changed her mind and tell them no, right 
out and be hanged to them. On the strawberry of her 
tongue it trembled. At once before her there floated 



THE PALISER CASE 147 

another picture, the picture of a shabby old man, 
without a penny in the world, or a hope save in her. 

She stood up. 

^'Dearie, dearie, I wish you joy, I do!'* the fat 
woman sobbed, or appeared to sob, and everything be- 
ing possible, it may be that she did not sob. La joie 
fait peur. She had done her part. On the morrow a 
cheque would reach her. ''Dearie, dearie!" 

''Don't be a fool," Cassy frigidly threw at her. 

"Will you take my arm?" Paliser asked. 

"Don't be a fool either," she threw at him and 
bravely, head up, went on to the events that waited. 

In the street below a strain overtook her. Ma 
Tamby was amusing herself with "Lohengrin." 



XX 

PALISER, alighting, turned to help Cassy. But 
Cassy could get out unassisted. 

The gravt^ crunched beneath the wheels of the re- 
treating car. From afar came the bark of a dog, 
caught up and repeated. Otherwise the air was still, 
very sweet. The house too was silent. In the hall 
and in the windows there were lights, but there seemed 
to be nobody about and that and the quiet gave her 
the delicious impression that the house was enchanted. 
It was a very nonsensical impression, but it was the 
nonsense that made it delicious. 

Paliser was saying something, though what she did 
not hear. The sky now was indigo and in it hung a 
yellow feather. On the Hudson it had been very pale, 
the ghost of a feather. But, as Harlem receded, it 
had ridden higher and brightened in the ride. Gassy 
had watched it, wishing that Paliser would not talk. 
He had sat next to her, on the same seat, yet if the 
portion of it which he occupied had been in a Queens- 
land back-block, he could not have been farther from 
her heart. He took her hand and she let him. He 
kissed her and she submitted to that. But she won- 
dered whether courtesans do not hate the men who 
pay them, more than they hate themselves. Was she 
any better? However a priest mumbled at her, she 
was selling herself. Love alone is marriage. She 
had none, nor had he. The whole thing was abomi- 
nable, and, as he held her hand and pressed her lips, her 

148 



THE PALISER CASE 149 

young soul rebelled. Even for her father's sake, this 
cup was too much. 

Now though, the empty hall and the great silent 
house took on the atmosphere of the Palace of the 
White Cat. The cup became a philtre. The abomina- 
tion changed into deliciousness. There are fairy-tales 
that are real. For all she knew, Paliser might change 
into Prince Charming and certainly he looked it. 

He had been saying something, what she did not 
hear. But on the steps beneath the perron, she turned 
and saw that which previously she had not realised, 
he was extraordinarily good-looking, and about her 
closed a consciousness that her rowdy frock was a 
tissue of diamonds and that he was in doublet and 
hose. 

A moment only. But during it something melted 
about her. Immediately aware of the phenomenon, 
she felt that she ought to freeze. She tried to and 
failed. The atmosphere of deliciousness prevented 
and, though she did not know the reason, she did know 
that she had failed and the fact instead of annoying, 
amused. Then, as she followed Paliser into the house, 
she told herself that she was an imbecile, that she did 
not know her own mind and, without transition, won- 
dered how her father was taking it. 

From the hall, they passed through a succession of 
rooms vacant, subdued, rich, and on into that other 
room where she had sung. At the farther end was a 
hyacinth curtain that masked a door. But near the 
entrance through which she had come was an ivory 
chair. Cassy, seating herself on it, wondered what 
had become of the bundle. She was sure that it held 
everything except what she wanted. Then suddenly be- 
hind her blue smock came a gnawing. She thought she 



150 THE PALISER CASE 

would ask Paliser to have somebody fetch her a sand- 
wich, two sandwiches, or else some bread and butter, 
but, now that she looked for him, he had gone. 

She got up, crossed the room and sat down on an- 
other chair which was black, probably ebony. It had 
a curial appearance that suggested the senate, not the 
senate at Washington, but the S. P. O. of Rome. It 
was quite near the hyacinth curtain and behind the 
latter she heard voices. Like the rooms they were sub- 
dued. She could distinguish nothing. Yet there must 
be a bell somewhere and she decided that if Paliser did 
not shortly return, she would ring. The gnawing was 
sharper. She was very hungry. 

Again she got up and looked from a window. It 
gave on a garden in which there was underbush that 
the moon was chequering with amber spots. After 
all, it was a queer sort of a wedding. But what had 
she expected? Grace Church? St. Thomas'? In- 
vitations a fortnight in advance, aisles banked with 
flowers, filled with snobs and the garbage of the Wag- 
ner score that Ma Tamby had tossed after her? Not 
by a long shot ! 

She turned. Paliser was entering. But the gnaw- 
ing had nibbled away the enchantment and, as she 
turned, she looked rather cross. 

Paliser, noticing that but mistaking the cause, said 
very sympathetically : ''During the Terror, a princess 
jogged along, smelling a rose. Marriage is no worse 
than the guillotine, besides being much less summary. 
Will you come?" 

**Less summary? I should say so!" Cassy retorted. 
"It is far too lingering." 

But she followed him out into another hall, one that 
was hung with tapestries. They were dim and em- 



THE PALISER CASE 151 

broidered with what seemed to be pearls. On the 
floor was a rug, dim also, narrow, very long, that 
extended to a room, lined with high-placed bookcases 
and set with low-placed lights. In the room stood a 
man. He wore a long black coat and a waistcoat that 
reached to his collar. In his hand was a book. 

"Dr. Grantly,'' said Paliser, who added, *'Miss 
Cara.^' 

Dr. Grantly bowed but without distinction. Be- 
cause of the position of the lights, his face was ob- 
scured and what Cassy could discern of it she judged 
young and uninteresting. When Paliser had first men- 
tioned him — and how long ago it seemed! — she had 
fancied him old. She had fancied too that he would 
have little side whiskers. The fact that he was young 
was not a disappointment. Clergymen, whether old or 
young, did not interest her. She did not care for them, 
or for churches, or the services in them. The cere- 
monial of worship seemed to her empty. Creeds pro- 
fessed but not practised seemed to her vain. But she 
would carry an injured cat for miles. A lost dog was 
found the moment she spotted it. She did what good 
she could, not because it is a duty, but for a superior 
reason. She liked to do it. One may be a Christian 
without caring for churches. 

"Dearly beloved " 

In the depths over which she had passed, excite- 
ment and the novelty of it had, until then, supported 
her. But at that exordium, instantly, they fell away ; 
instantly fear, like a wave, swept over her. Instantly 
she felt, and the feeling is by no means agreeable, that 
she was struggling with the intangible in a void. But 
she had not intended to drown, or no, that was not it, 
she had not wanted to marry. Aware of the depths. 



152 THE PALISER CASE 

not until then had she known their peril. Until that 
moment she had not realised their menace. Then 
abruptly it caught and submerged her. 

"I require and charge you both as ye will answer at 
the dreadful day of judgment " 

The solemnity of the sonorous exhortation was 
water in her ears. The sound of it reached her con- 
fusedly, in a jumble. She was drowning and it was 
unconsciously, in this condition, that poked by Paliser, 
she heard herself uttering the consenting words that 
are so irrevocable and so fluid. 

It was over then — or nearly! The thought of it 
shook her from the mental swoon. Behind her some 
one spoke and she wondered who it could be. But 
a movement distracted her. Dr. Grantly had shifted 
the book from one hand to the other and as absently 
she followed the movement, she saw that the hand that 
now held the book was maimed or else malformed. 

But what immediately occupied her were other 
words which, prompted by him, she was automatically 
repeating. The words are very beautiful, really exalt- 
ing, they are words that spread peace as dawn spreads 
upon the sea. Yet, in their delivery, twice Dr. Grantly 
tripped and, though on each occasion he pulled himself 
up and went on again without embarrassment, it 
seemed to Cassy that he did so without dignity. 

The impression, which was but momentary, drifted; 
another distraction intervened, her finger was being 
ringed. I'm done for! she despairingly thought. 

"Amen!" 

"Ouf !'' Cassy gasped. It was really over, over at 
last, and still a little bewildered, she turned. The 
butler and the maid were leaving the room, which they 
must have entered when the ceremony first over- 



THE PALISER CASE 153 

whelmed her. From the hall a slight cackle floated 
back. 

It amused them, she generously reflected. 

Paliser did not notice. He was addressing the 
clergyman. "Thank you very much, doctor." He 
turned to his bride. "Cutting your head off may have 
been worse, don't you think?'' 

If I can't be gay at least I should appear so, she 
told herself and desperately she laughed. 

Meanwhile the man of God, relapsing into the man 
of the world, or of its neighbourhood, did not seem to 
know what to do with himself. He dropped the book, 
picked it up, put it on the table. Considerately, in his 
Oxford voice, Paliser instructed him. 

"You must be going? Ah, well, I appreciate. Let 
me thank you again." 

Dr. Grantly mumbled something, smiled at the bride, 
smiled at the happy man or, more exactly, he smiled 
at an envelope which the happy man was giving him 
and which, Cassy divined, contained his fee. How 
much? she wondered. However much or little, it 
was excessive. 

The hall took him and the groom grappled with the 
bride, embracing her with that rudimentary paranoia 
which lawful passion comports. 

She struggled free and, a bit breathless, but with the 
same desperate gaiety, exclaimed: "If this is matri- 
mony, give me war !" 

"Perhaps you would prefer dinner first," Paliser, 
with recovered calm, replied. 

Wouldn't she, though ! Now that she was definitely 
dished, hunger again bit at her and she accompanied 
Paliser through the dim hall, through the music-room, 
through the long suite, into the dining-room where, 



154 THE PALISER CASE 

as before, three men, with white sensual faces, stood 
waiting. 

Paliser motioned. "Mrs. Paliser will sit there. 
Move the other chair here." He drew a seat for her 
and gave additional instructions. "There will be peo- 
ple here to-morrow. If we are motoring, have them 
wait." 

"What people?" asked Cassy, before whom an un- 
comfortable vision of her father and Ma Tamby 
jumped. 

PaHser replied in French. "A man and a woman 
or two from Fifth Avenue." 

I wonder where that bundle is, thought Cassy who 
said: "A man? What man?" 

"Oh, just a clerk. That is almond soup. Do you 
care for it?" He looked down at his plate which 
appeared to engross him. 

Cassy raised her spoon. "A penny for your 
thoughts." 

He looked up. "They are worth far more. I was 
thinking of the night I first met you." 

Cassy laughed. "And Ma Tamby's ham and eggs?" 

Paliser, raising his own spoon, added : "It was Len- 
nox who introduced us. You knew he was engaged to 
Miss Austen? Well, she has broken it." 

Cassy must have swallowed the soup the wrong way. 
She coughed, lifted her napkin and saw a road, long, 
dark, infinitely fatiguing on which she was lost. But 
the soup adjusted itself, the road turned to the right. 
Lennox had never so much as said boo ! In anger at 
herself she rubbed her mouth hard and put the napkin 
down. 

Paliser, who had been tasting and sniffing at a glass, 
looked at the butler. "What is this? Take it away. 



THE PALISER CASE 155 

It is not fit for a convict." He looked over at Cassy. 
*1 am sorry." 

''One gets so bored with good wine," said Cassy, 
who recently had been reading Disraeli. Yet she said 
it absently, the unscrambled eggs about her. 

But the saying was new to Paliser, to whom few 
things were. He relished it accordingly and the more 
particularly because of its fine flavour of high-bred 
insolence. 

From where he sat, he eyed her. Although she was 
eating, which is never a very engaging occupation, her 
face had an air that was noble and reserved. At the 
moment, a scruple in which there was a doubt, pre- 
sented itself. In view of the coming draft act, it oc- 
curred to him that he might have gone the wrong way 
about it. But the scruple concerned merely the ex- 
pediency of the adventure. It was not related to his 
conscience. He had none. 

Now, though, a new decanter was before him; he 
tried it, drank of it, judged it decent and drank again. 
Being decent, it was not heady. It did not affect him. 
Cassy had done that. In her was a bouquet which 
the vineyard of youth and beauty alone produces. He 
had hankered for it. Now, like the decanter, it was 
before him. He could drink his fill. Then like the 
other wine, he could send it away. 



XXI 

THE elder Paliser, seated in the hall of his town 
house, held a cup. In the chair, a doge had 
throned. On the bottom of the cup was an N topped 
by a crown. The cup contained hot milk. 

Returning, a little before, from a drive, he had been 
helped up the steps, into the hall, into the chair. He 
had not wished to be helped farther. In the hall, the 
milk had been brought. As he sipped it, he looked 
placid, dignified, evil. He looked very much like a 
wicked old doge. 

''When I don't move, it is remarkable how well I 
feel." 

His son, to whom he spoke, sat in a sedan-chair 
which, delicately enamelled without, was as delicately 
upholstered within. Through the window of the chair, 
only the young man's face showed. If you had not 
known better you might have mistaken it for the face 
of a lady of an earlier, a politer, though not of a 
bloodier age. But you would have known better. The 
hair, powdered white, was absent; so too were the 
patches; so also was the rouge. 

Behind the doge's chair a servant stood. Adjacently 
was a malachite bench. Beyond was a malachite stair- 
way. The elder Paliser, finishing with the milk, ex- 
tended the cup. The servant took it and turned. Re- 
cesses, back of the stairway, engulfed him. 

Monty Paliser straightened. The movement dis- 
closed his collar, the white of his tie. 

It was the evening of the fourth day since the wed- 

156 



THE PALISER CASE 157 

ding. He had motored in to dine at the Austens'. 
Cassy had seen him go and had seen too uninterrupted 
hours in the music-room. The prospect was consoling. 
But, pending the dinner and with an ample quarter 
of an hour to the good, he had looked in on his father 
whom he had found in the hall. Nothing filial had 
motived this looking-in. On the surface, it was a 
visit of circumstance such as one gentleman may pay 
to another. But, beneath the surface, was an object 
which, when the servant and the cup had gone, he 
approached. 

'1 hope Benny has not been in your way.'' 
*'Not in the least. I told him to go back to you." 
'Ts he still here?" 
''I haven't an idea." 
"You might send him to Newport." 
"You want to be rid of him, eh?" 
"The Place does not need three gardeners." 
The old man, who seemed to be feeling about for 
something, scowled. "What it does not need is the 
atmosphere that you are giving it. You may go to 
the devil your own way. I sha'n't stop you. But it 
puts a bad taste in my mouth to have you turn it into 
a road-house. Damn it, sir, you were born there." 
Through the window of the sedan-chair, the young 
man was watching. He saw it coming and masked 
himself. 

"How funny of Benny to give you such an idea." 
Then, straight at him, went the bomb. 
"It was not a gift. What I got, I extracted. Why 
don't you marry? Eh? Why don't you? In order 
that you might, I made over to you a thing or two. 
I wish to God, I hadn't. But perhaps you are satis- 
fied. If you are, well and good. As it is, unless 
you marry, I'll leave the property to Sally's brat and 



158 THE PALISER CASE 

have him change his name. By Gad, sir, if I don't 
have some assurance from you and have it now, I'll 
send for Jeroloman. I will make a new will and I'll 
make it to-night. If you came here to dine, you can 
stop on and listen to it.'' 

The bomb was full of fumes. In the still air they 
floated. But in throwing it, the old man's scowl 
had deepened. It had become a grimace that creased 
every wrinkle into prominence. His hand had gone to 
his chest. Gasping, he held it there. Then presently 
it fell. His features relaxed and dryly, in an even 
tone, he resumed : ''It is remarkable how well I feel, 
if I don't talk. Any excitement suffocates me." 

In the trench, that the sedan-chair had become, 
Monty Paliser tightened the mask. "There is no need 
for any excitement. I will marry. You have my 
word." 

On the great blasoned throne, the old man shifted. 
The easy victory mollified him. *'Ah! You dine 
here?" 

''Thank you, no. I am dining at the Austens'." 

"Where?" the elder Paliser asked. He had heard 
but he wanted it repeated. It seemed vaguely prom- 
ising. 

"At the Austens'. You may remember that the 
pearl of the household was engaged. It's off." 

Slowly the old man twisted. "What is? The en- 
gagement?" 

"So her mother told me." 

"And you are dining there." 

"In a few minutes." 

The old man took it in, turned it over. It seemed 
not only victory but peace, and peace with annexation. 

"Very good then. I draw the veil over your road- 
house. Put the young woman in a flat. Put her in 



THE PALISER CASE 159 

two flats. Nobody who is anybody ever sees any- 
thing that was not intended for them. Don't beat the 
drum. That is all that the right people ask and all 
I require, except '' 

He paused, considered the annexation and added : *'I 
wish you an excellent appetite. Austen himself was 
a drivelling idiot and his wife used to be a rare old girl 
— is still, I daresay — but they came of good stock, and 
the daughter has looks and no brains. You couldn't 
do better.'' 

He paused again, appeared to lose himself in the 
past, looked up and suddenly exclaimed: "You are 
ridiculous in that damned thing! Oblige me by get- 
ting out." 

The young man extracted himself and sat down on 
the malachite bench. It was more exposed than the 
trench and the fumes of the gas bomb that his father 
had hurled were hazardous still. Additional pro- 
tection from them was needed and he said : "What will 
you do about Benny?" 

The old man disliked to be questioned. On the arm 
of his chair he beat with his fingers a quick, brief 
tattoo. 

"Benny belongs to the Place. His father served me 
there. His grandfather served yours. You don't get 
such people nowadays." 

Negligently the young man smoothed his tie. "Very 
picturesque and feudal. But I don't want him." 

His father did not seem to hear, or to care. He 
was afar, wandering from it. "Ever notice that he 
has only one thumb? Same way with his father. 
Probably a family trait. I wish there were more 
families like 'em. This house is full of trollops and 
rascals. So is Newport. The house at Newport is 
full of rapscallions. Believe Til offer it to the Gov- 



i6o THE PALISER CASE 

ernment for a hospital. I wish to God Sally would 
come over and run it. Do you ever hear from her ?*' 

The young man stood up. ''Never.'' 

**I don't doubt she is well rid of Balaguine. I've 
run into a baker's dozen of Russian princes. All 
canaille. What she wanted to marry him for, God 
only knows, and in saying that I exaggerate. Nice 
mess they have made of things there. Are you going? 
Oblige me by touching the bell." 

The young man touched it and, while he was at it, 
something else. ''Couldn't you oblige me by shipping 
Benny to Newport?" 

The old man motioned. It was as though he dis- 
missed it. "My compliments to her mother and re- 
member that I have your word. Don't dilly-dally. 
Good God, sir, can't you realise that any day now you 
may be drafted? You've no time to lose. If I were 
your age, I'd enlist to-morrow. Don't stand on one 
foot, you make me nervous." 

The son, putting on a white glove, got back at it. 
''I was asking you about Benny." 

Again the old man shifted. "Hum ! Well ! Since 
you make a point of it. Yes. I'll send him to New- 
port." 

"You won't forget?" 

"I never forget," replied the old man, who, from 
that moment, forgot it utterly — until the following 
night when throttlingly it leaped at him. 

Even if he had remembered, it could only have de- 
layed the course of events. Benny went the next day 
and, in going, merely accelerated a drama which per- 
haps was preordered. 

But now, from behind the recesses of the malachite 
stairway, a rascal appeared and approached and opened 



THE PALISER CASE 161 

a bronze door, from which a young gentleman passed 
out and entered his car. 

It was dark then, darker than convenient. There 
are ways that are obscure. The martyr who dis- 
covered that virtue is its own reward, died unwept, un- 
honoured, unsung. History does not know him. Per- 
haps he was an editor. But he bequeathed a vaHd 
idea. 

As the car swam on, Monty PaHser was conscious 
of it. It would, he reflected, simplify matters very 
much if his father died immediately. He had no ill- 
feeling toward him, no good-feeling, no feeling what- 
ever. For the property conveyed to him and other- 
wise bestowed, he had no gratitude. These gifts were 
in the nature of things. Gifts similar or cognate his 
father had received, as also had his grandfather, his 
great-grandfather and so on ab initio. They were 
possessions handed down and handed over for the 
greater glory of the House. He had therefore no 
gratitude for them. When the time came he would 
repeat the process and expect no gratitude either. 
Meanwhile though the gifts were adequate, there were 
more en route, so many that they would lift him within 
hailing distance of the richest men in the world. 
Though whether that were worth five minutes of 
perplexity, ten minutes of tears, a row and, possibly, 
your name in the papers, depended on the point of 
view. 

In considering it, he found himself — and very much 
to his disgust — rememorating a moral axiom : Great 
wealth is a great burden. The axiom was a favourite 
with his father, who had sickened him with it. But 
on its heels always there had trod a variant. "By Gad, 
sir, you can say what you like, it puts you in a position 
to tell anybody to go to hell.'' 



i62 THE PALISER CASE 

The variant had a lilt, a go, a flourish. To employ a 
vulgarism of the hour, it had the punch. It landed you 
and between the eyes. It required neither commen- 
taries nor explanation. It was all there. It was tangi- 
ble as a brickbat, self-evident as the sun. 

In admiring it, the young man philosophised sto- 
ically. Did he not have enough for that already ? 

Yes, but later? Later might he not want to phil- 
osophise less stoically and more luxuriously? It was 
a problem. Meanwhile there was Cassy. He had no 
wish to lose her. Yet about him already was the 
shadow of the inevitable draft act That was not a 
problem merely, it was a pit. 

Meanwhile there was Cassy whom he did not wish 
to lose. She was delightful, delectable, delicious. Not 
divine though, thank heaven! The gleam in her eyes 
could be quite infernal. The gleam heightened a 
charm which in itself was fugitive. He recognised 
that. However delicious a dish may be, no man can 
feed on it always. Not he at any rate. But, for the 
time being, it was very appetising. For the present, it 
did very well. On the other hand, Margaret Austen 
represented a succession of courses which, in addition 
to being appetising, would lift him to a parity with the 
super-rich. 

It was certainly perplexing. But it is a long turning 
that has no lane. He was a decent whip and a string 
made up of Margaret and Cassy was one that, let him 
alone for it, he could handle. 

But now the car had stopped. Abandoning per- 
plexity, he went on and up. 



XXII 

HERE you are ! Bright and late as usual V 
In her fluted voice, with her agreeable smile, 
Mrs. Austen greeted him. The lady was attired in a 
manner that left her glitteringly and splendidly bare. 
With her, in the cluttered drawing-room, were Mar- 
garet, Kate Schermerhorn, Poppet Bleecker, Verelst, 
Cantillon and Ogston. 

"Will you take my daughter out?'* Mrs. Austen, 
with that smile, continued. "Oh !" she interrupted her- 
self to remark. "You have not congratulated Mr. 
Cantillon. Has no little bird told you ? It's this dear 
child Kate. Just now — don't you think? — engage- 
ments, like lilacs, are in the air." She turned to Verelst. 
"Grey deceiver!" 

Verelst crooked his arm. "However much I tried 
to deceive, I got grey before I could." 

"What are you laughing at?" Mrs. Austen with 
her tireless smile enquired of Paliser, who, after speak- 
ing to the girls, had said something to Cantillon. 

"Somersaults being a specialty of his, I was telling 
him that now is the time for a triple one." 

Paliser turned to Margaret, She had said noth- 
ing. She was very pale. Mute, white, blonde, she 
was a vision. 

At table, Verelst, addressing him, asked : "How is 
your father?" 

"Thank you. Enjoying his usual poor health." He 
turned again to Margaret. "No one could mistake my 
father for an auctioneer. He has so few admirations. 
But he knew your father and admired him greatly/' 

163 



i64 THE PALISER CASE 

Margaret made no reply. She was thinking of the 
land of Splendours and Terrors, where the princess sat 
in chains. Margaret envied her. Over the hill the 
true knight was hastening and Margaret knew, as we 
all know, what happened then. It is a very pretty 
story, but it can be equally sad to a sorrowing girl who 
has no true knight, or who had one, and who found 
that he was neither knightly nor true. 

Paliser misconstrued her silence. About her eyes 
and mouth was an expression that is displayed by those 
who have suffered from some long malady or from 
some perilous constraint. That also he misconstrued. 
He had been told she had washed her hands of Len- 
nox and had washed them with the soap of indiffer- 
ence, which is the most effective of all. He was not 
credulous but he had believed it. The idea that her 
throat was choked and her heart a haunt of regret, 
did not occur to this subtle young man. He attributed 
both her silence and her expression to neuralgia. The 
latter did not disturb him. But her loveliness did. It 
inundated him. The gallery of his memory was hung 
with fair faces. Her face exceeded them all. 

The dinner proceeded. Presently, Kate Schermer- 
horn called over at him. "Who was the damsel I saw 
you making up to in the Park the other day?'' 

Paliser turned to her. *T have forgotten." 

'1 don't wonder. You seemed to have lost your 
head." 

"Probably then because it wasn't you." 

"Fiddlesticks! You looked as though you could 
cut your throat for her. Didn't you feel that way? 
I am sure you did." 

"You must be thinking of Cantillon. That's the 
way he looks at you. If he didn't, he wouldn't have 



THE PALISER CASE 165 

any feeling at all. One might even say he was quite 
heartless/' 

Kate was laughing. In laughing she showed her 
red mouth and her teeth, small, white, a trifle uneven, 
and, though she continued to show them, her laughter 
ceased. With her red mouth open, she stared. That 
mouth closed, opened again. She was saying some- 
thing. 

Everybody was exclaiming. All were hurriedly get- 
ting up. 

Paliser turned to Margaret. She had gone. 

Verelst now was between him and her chair. He 
was bending over. Bending also was Mrs. Austen. 
On the other side were Cantillon, Ogston and Miss 
Bleecker. 

Then, as the surprise of it lifted Paliser, he saw that 
they were lifting her. 

"Brandy !" said Verelst. "Tell the man.'' 

"Permit me!" Without ofiiciousness, without 
noticeable shoves, Paliser got among them and got on 
his knees beside the girl whom Verelst and Mrs. 
Austen were supporting. 

Mrs. Austen wanted to wink at him. Instead, she 
made way. He took her place, took the girl in his 
arms and thought he would like to keep her there — 
though not, of course, forever. But he said: "The 
other room, perhaps." 

Margaret's head was on his shoulder. She raised 
it. Her eyes had opened. She looked at him, at the 
arms that were about her. A shudder shook her. 
Verelst stretched a hand, Ogston another. With them, 
but otherwise without effort, she stood up, 

Cantillon exclaimed at her. "Right as rain again! 
I say, Miss Austen, you did give us a start!" 

Yet at once, and so endearingly, with the air of an 



i66 THE PALISER CASE 

elder sister, Mrs. Austen resumed the maternal func- 
tions. "Dearest child, you have been overdoing it!'' 

Kate patted the girl. ^'Margaret ! I nearly fainted 
too. I was looking at you. You went over like that !" 

'*Sorry," said Margaret evenly. Her hands had 
gone to the back of her head. She dropped them and 
added: "If you will excuse me." 

Lovingly her mother dismissed her. "The smelling- 
salts! You will find them somewhere." The lady 
looked about. "Shall we have coffee in the other 
room? You men can smoke there if you like, or here 
if you prefer." 

It was quite modern. But Verelst was old, there- 
fore old-fashioned. He preferred the dining-room. 
Already the girls had followed Margaret. Mrs. Aus- 
ten passed out. Verelst sat down. So also did Can- 
tillon and Ogston. But Paliser, who had nothing to 
say to them, accompanied Mrs. Austen. 

"It never happened to her before," she told him. 
"Where shall you sit? Here, by me?" In speaking 
she made room on the sofa and with amiable sus- 
picion eyed him. "You hadn't said anything to her, 
had you?" 

Paliser shook his handsome head. "I wanted to." 

Pleasantly she invited it. "Yes?" 

"I wanted to ask her to marry me." 

There he was dangling, and what a fish ! The dear 
woman licked her chops, not vulgarly, of course, but 
mentally. 

Paliser, who knew perfectly well what she was at, 
smiled tantalisingly. "It is beastly to boast, but I am 
an epicure." 

What in the world does he mean ? the dear woman 
wondered. But she said : "Of course you are." 

Paliser, who was enjoying himself hugely, resumed: 



THE PALISER CASE 167 

"An epicure, you know, postpones the finest pleasures. 
He does so sometimes because of the enchantment of 
distance and again because he can't help himself. That 
has been my case." 

It was fully a moment before Mrs. Austen got it. 
Then she said: *'But I told you, didn't I? Mr. Len- 
nox is dead and buried." 

It was quick work. Paliser, admiring her agility, 
laughed. ''So recently though! The immortelles 
have not had time to fade." 

That would have made a saint swear! Not being 
a saint, Mrs. Austen contented herself with virtuous 
surprise. ''But there were none ! I told you that. I 
told you that any attraction he may have had for my 
child, he shocked straight out of her. Not deliber- 
ately. Dear me, I would not have you fancy such a 
thing for a moment. Nor would I misjudge him. I 
hope I am too conscientious. But such interest as the 
child had in him — an interest I need hardly say that 
was girlish and immature — he destroyed." 

The picture, bold but crude, had its defects. To 
remedy them, Mrs. Austen applied the brush. "That 
singing-girl! You know whom I mean. I saw you 
with her the night we went to the Bazaar." 

Paliser nodded. He knew indeed! He knew too 
that, for a moment, he had fancied that Cassy was in 
love with Lennox. But that idea he had long since 
abandoned and what she could now be doing in this 
galley intrigued him. 

With a free hand Mrs. Austen laid on the colours. 
"You will hardly credit it, but we as good as caught 
him with her. As good or as bad. It is a matter of 
taste. For me it was very painful. A woman should 
be spared such an experience. As for Margaret, while 
the child certainlv did not understand — how could she? 



i68 THE PALISER CASE 

— yet, even in her innocence, she realised — well — that 
he is just what you said." 

It was a bit thick and PaHser began to laugh. 

Mrs. Austen saw that he did not believe her. The 
fact annoyed and in vexation she piled it on. "After- 
ward, in this very room, I taxed him with it and he 
admitted it.'' 

What a lie ! thought Paliser, who specialised in that 
article. But, a second thought prompting, he won- 
dered whether it were a lie. His knowledge of Cassy 
refuted it. At the same time, where women are con- 
cerned, you never know. One thing, however, he did 
know. In his quality of expert he knew that there 
are statements which, whether true or false, may come 
in handy and, comfortably, he smiled. 

''So that was the reason why the engagement was 
broken." 

''What more would you have?" replied the candid 
creature, who now felt that he had swallowed it. 

Quite as comfortably, Paliser returned to his mut- 
tons. "I may cease then to be an epicure?" 

There was the fish again, but how to land him ? The 
glittering fisherlady could not bind and gag the bait 
and drop her into his mouth. At any such attempt, the 
bait would pack and go, might even go without pack- 
ing. Yet there was the fish, eager, willing, the gills 
awiggle. Barring a few gold-fish in Bradstreet, in 
Burke and in Lempriere, this fish was the pick of the 
basket. To see him glide away, and for no other 
earthly reason than because the bait refused to be 
hooked, was simply inhuman. Flesh and blood could 
not stand it. No, nor ingenuity either. Instantly the 
angler saw that in default of bait, a net may do the 
trick and, with the ease of a prestidigitateur, she pro- 
duced one. 



THE PALISER CASE 169 

*^You have my blessing!'' 

Paliser laughed and bowed. He was in it, it was 
w^here he wanted to be and he liked it. But in view 
of existing domestic arrangements, he was in it a bit 
too soon and, wriggling through a mesh, he stopped 
laughing and looked solemn. 

''You are very good. But beforehand my father 
will expect to be consulted and, just at present, that is 
impossible. The physicians would forbid it.'' 

'The poor dear old man ! You don't mean " 

Paliser half raised a hand. The gesture was slight 
but expressive. One never knew! 

But so much the better, thought Mrs. Austen. Pend- 
ing the delay she could so bombard the bait, bombard 
her day in, day out, and the whole night through, that, 
like Liege and Namur, her resistance would crumble, 
and meanwhile he would come in for everything, or 
nearly everything, she reflected, and the reflection 
prompting, she affected concern. 

"Has your sister been informed?" 

"I cabled her to-day," said Paliser, who had done 
nothing of the kind. 

With the same concern, Mrs. Austen lied as freely. 
"It is too sad for words." But at once the air of the 
sympathiser departed, replaced by that of the hostess. 
Through one door the men were entering. Through 
another came the girls. 

Kate Schermerhorn approached. "Dear Mrs. Aus- 
ten, Margaret's all right, but she has a headache." As 
she spoke, she threw a glance at Cantillon. 

Poppet Bleecker also approached. "It is too bad, 
Margaret is such a dear ! I would like to stop on but 
they tell me my maid is here. Thank you so much, 
dear Mrs. Austen. 

The lady stood up. "But you are not all going!" 



170 THE PALISER CASE 

They all were though. She knew it and was glad of 
it. The object of the dinner was achieved and achieve- 
ment, however satisfactory, is fatiguing. "You too!'' 
she successively exclaimed at Ogston and Cantillon. 
''And you also!'' she exclaimed at Paliser, to whom, 
dropping her voice, she added : ''If possible, remember 
me to him." 

As they went, Verelst surveyed her. He stood 
against the mantel, his back to the empty grate. 

Turning she saw him. "Well, what now?" 

Verelst, adjusting his glasses, said, and distantly 
enough : "What now ? No, what next ?" 

Mrs. Austen sat down. "Peter, if you ever loved 
me, don't adopt that tone." 

"It is not the tone, it is the tune and the tune is 
yours." 

"Tune? What tune? What on earth are you talk- 
ing about?" 

"The tune to which the dinner was set. I heard 
it. Margaret heard it. It knocked her out." 

She raised her eyes to him, made them pathetic. 
"Peter, I haven't a penny." 

"You have twenty thousand a year." 

"Nineteen, not a dollar more, and that is genteel 
poverty and there's nothing genteel in poverty now." 

Verelst tugged at his moustache. "Tell me this. 
Is she to marry him?" 

In affected surprise, she started. "How you do 
jump at conclusions." 

Angrily he nodded. "I appear to have jumped at 
the correct one." 

But his anger had gained her. She faced him. 
"Heavens and earth! What have you against him? 
What have you all against him ? My eyes are as good 
as any one's. I can't see it." 



THE PALISER CASE 171 

"You might feel it then/' 

'Teel what?'' 

Verelst tugged again at his moustache. He had 
never heard of elementals and, if he had heard, he 
would not have believed in them. He knew nothing 
of aurae — which photography has captured. He was 
very old fogy. But he knew an honest man when 
he saw one and a gentleman before he opened his 
mouth. 

'Teel what?'' Mrs. Austen repeated. 

Verelst, thrashing about, could not get it, but he 
said: "I can't describe it, but it's something. His 
father had it. He " 

''His father is at death's door." 

"Ah! Is he? Well,' I'm sorry for that. M. P. 
used to be no better than the law allows — and the law 
is very lenient." 

"You were too." 

"I daresay. But M. P. has got over it. Without 
boasting, I think I have also. But that is neither here 
nor there. In the old days, I have seen people shrink 
from him." 

"Nonsense! Precious little shrinking I ever did." 

"Timidity was never one of your many virtues." 

"Don't be coarse, Peter, and if possible don't be 
stupid. If you know anything against Monty, say it. 
I may find it in his favour." 

Impatiently Verelst motioned. "Decent men avoid 
him." 

"And you !" Mrs. Austen retorted. "What do you 
call yourself? You are always civil to him." 

Verelst showed his teeth. "One of the few things 
life has taught me is to be civil to everybody." 

"Except to me. Now do sit down and make your- 
self uncomfortable. You have made me uncomfort- 



172 THE PALISER CASE 

able enough. Any one might think you a country par- 
son." 

But Verelst, scowling at the dial which the legs of 
the nymph upheld, removed his glasses. ''1 am going.'' 
He moved to the door, stopped, half turned, motioned 
again. "Tell Margaret I would rather see her in her 
coffin." 

Angrily she started. *T11 tell her nothing of the 
kind." 

It was his back that she addressed. She saw him 
go, saw too her anger go with him. The outer door 
had not closed before the tune of which he had spoken 
was dispersing it. 

But was it a tune? It seemed something far rarer. 
In it was a whisper of waters, the lap of waves, the 
muffled voice of a river, which, winding from hill to 
sea, was pierced by a note very high, very clear, en- 
tirely limpid, a note that had in it the gaiety of a sun- 
beam, a note that mounted in loops of light, expand- 
ing as it mounted, until, bursting into jets of fire, it 
drew from the stream's deepest depths the sonority and 
glare of its riches. 

The ripple of it ran down the spine of this woman, 
who at heart was a Hun and to whom the harmonies 
disclosed, not the mythical gleam of the Rheingold, 
but the real radiance of the Paliser wealth. 

At the glow of it she rubbed her hands. 



XXIII 

TN the club window, on the following afternoon, 
-*■ Jones was airing copy. 

"Capua must have been packed with yawns. It is 
the malediction of mortals to want what they lack until 
they get it, when they want it no more. Epicurus 
said that or, if he did not, Lucretius said it for him. 
'Surgit amari aliquid.' But here I am running into 
quotations when the only ones that interest anybody 
are those in the Street. Conditions here are revolt- 
ing. Nowhere at any time has there been a metrop- 
olis that so stank to heaven. The papers drip with 
stocks and scandals and over there, before the massed 
artillery, the troops are wheeling down to death. But 
wheeling is perhaps poetic. The Marne was the last 
battle in the grand style." 

'T don't see what that has to do with Capua," said 
Verelst. 

"Nor I," Jones repHed. "But, come to think of it, 
there is a connection. In Capua everybody yawned 
their heads off. In Flanders and Champagne they are 
shot off. Life swings like a pendulum between bore- 
dom and pain. When the world is not anaemic, it is 
delirious. If ever again its pulse registers normal, 
sensible people will go back to Epicurus, whose exist-* 
ence was one long lesson in mental tranquillity. By the 
Lord Harry, the more I consider it, the more con- 

173 



174 THE PALISER CASE 

vinced I become that there is nothing else worth 
having. Niente, nada, rien. Nothing whatever/' 

Verelst smiled. ''In that case it is hardly worth 
while getting excited over it/' He raised the lapel of 
his coat. There were violets in it. He took a whiff 
and added: ''Has Lennox been here to-day?" 

But Jones did not know. 

Regretfully, Verelst continued: "He goes to Min- 
eola to-morrow and soon he will be over the top.'' 

Jones lit a cigarette. "Assuming that he gets back, 
the women will be mad about him. Some of them at 
any rate." 

Verelst rolled an enquiring eye. 

"Of course they will," Jones resumed. "Times 
have changed precious little since Victor Hugo. 

'Les belles ont le gout des heros. Le sabreur 

Effroyable, trainant apres lui tant d'horreur 

Qu'il ferait reculer jusqu'a la sombre Hecate, 

Charme la plus timide et la plus delicate. 

Sur ce, battez tambours ! Ce qui plait a la bouche 

De la blonde aux yeux doux, c'est le baiser farouche. 

La femme se fait faire avec joie un enfant, 

Par I'homme qui tua, sinistre et triomphant. 

Et c'est la volupte de toutes ces colombes 

D'ouvrir leur lit a ceux qui font ouvrir les tombes.' 

"What rhythm ! What music ! The score is Napo- 
leonic but " 

"Hello!" Verelst interrupted. Before the window 
a car had passed. He was looking at it. On the back 
seat was a man in a high hat and an overcoat. "M. P. !" 
he exclaimed. 

"What of it?" Jones asked. 

Verelst removed his glasses and looked distrust- 



THE PALISER CASE 175 

fully at them. It was as though he doubted their 
vision. Then, after a moment he said : 'Tast night I 
heard he was dying." 

'*Which/' Jones remarked, ''is the aim, the object 
and the purpose of life. But apparently he has not 
achieved it yet. Apparently also you are a futurist. 
The Napoleonic score did not interest you." 

Verelst, resuming his glasses, replied: ''It would 
not interest Lennox, if that is w^hat you mean. He 
has been hit too hard." 

Jones nodded. He knew all about it. It had even 
suggested a story, a famous story; one that was told 
in Babylon and has been retold ever since; the story 
of lovers vilely parted in the beginning and virtuously 
united at the end. It is a highly original story, to 
which anybody can give a fresh twist and Jones had 
planned to have the hero killed at the front and the 
heroine marry the villain, but only to divorce the 
latter before the hero — whose death had been falsely 
gazetted — limps in. 

But Jones knew his trade. He knew that the reader 
always balks unless the hero gets the heroine first- 
hand and he had thought of making the villain an 
invalid. Yet at that too he knew the reader would 
balk. The reader is so nice-minded! 

Now, the plot recurring, he said to Verelst : "Your 
knowledge of women has, I am sure, made you in- 
dulgent." 

"Not in the least." 

"But " 

"Look here," Verelst interrupted. "When I was 
young and consequently very experienced, I was in- 
dulgent. But monsters change you. Last night I 
dined with one." 



176 THE PALISER CASE 

"Enviable mortal r 

''You remember Abraham?'' Verelst continued. 
''His name was Abraham — wasn't it ? — that benevolent 
old man in the Bible who made the sacrifice of sacri- 
ficing an animal instead of his son? Well, last night 
it seemed to me that there are women Abrahams, only 
less benevolent. The altar was veiled, the knife was 
concealed, but the victim was there — a girl for whom, 
at your age, I would have died, or offered to die, which 
amounts to the same thing. What is more to the 
point, at your age, or no, for you are much older than 
your conversation would lead one to believe, but in 
my careless days I offered to die for her mother. I 
swore I could not live without her. That is always 
a mistake. It is too flattering, besides being untrue. 
Perhaps she so regarded it. In any event another 
man fared better or worse. Afterward, time and 
again, he said to me : 'Peter, for God's sake, run away 
with her.' Am I boring you?" 

"Enormously." 

"Well, he was very gentlemanly about it. Without 
making a fuss at home, he went away and died in a 
hospital. She was very grateful to him for that. But 
her gratitude waned when she came in for his money. 
It was adequate but not opulent, the result being that 
she tried to train her daughter for the great matri- 
monial steeplechase. Just here the plot thickens. Re- 
cently the filly shied, took the bit in her teeth and — 
hurrah, boys! — she was off on her own, until her 
mother jockied her up to a hurdle that she could not 
take and the filly came a cropper. But her mother was 
still one too many for her. She had her up in a jiffy 
and now she is heading her straight for the sweep- 
stakes," 



THE PALISER CASE 177 

'^Excuse me/' Jones with affected meekness put 
in. *'I assume that the sacrificial victim and the filly 
are one and the same/' 

*'Your perspicacity does you much credit.'' 

Jones laughed. "I have my little talents. But you ! 
The wizardry with which you mix metaphors is beau- 
tiful. You produce a dinner-table and transform it 
into an altar which instantly becomes a racecourse. 
That is v/hat I call genius. But to an every-day sort 
of chap like me, would you mind being less cryptic?" 

'*Can you keep a secret ?" ^^ 

^'Yes." 

"So can I." 

Again Jones laughed. *'Not in my neighbourhood. 
You were talking of Lennox and drifted from him 
into the Bible. Your thoughts of the one recalled 
studies of the other and at once you had Abraham's 
daughter downed on the racecourse. Well, she won't 
be." 

''Why do you say that?" 

''Because it is my business to see things before they 
occur. Miss Austen " 

"I never mentioned her," Verelst heatedly ex- 
claimed. "You have no right to " 

"I admit it. But because of Lennox the whole mat> 
ter has preoccupied me and quite as much, I daresay 
as it has distressed you." 

"I don't see at all what you have to do with it." 

"Perhaps not. But preoccupation may lead to 
crystal-gazing. Now I will wager a red pippin that 
I can tell what you said at the steeplechase to the 
steeplestakes. You asked after his father." 

Verelst stared. A man of the world and, as such, 



178 THE PALISER CASE 

at his ease in any circumstances, none the less he was 
startled. "How in God's name did you get that?" 

"It is very simple. Five minutes ago his father 
sailed by. You made a remark about him. The re- 
mark suggested a train of thought which landed you at 
the racecourse where you saw, or intimated that you 
saw, the steeplestakes. But what visible sweepstakes 
are there except M. P.'s son? You and M. P. are 
friends. It is only natural that you should ask about 
him." 

Verelst turned uneasily. "I don't yet see how you 
got it. The only thing I said is that I heard he was 
dying." 

"And five minutes ago you exclaimed at his resur- 
rection. There is a discrepancy there that is very sug- 
gestive." 

"It is none of my making then." 

"It is none the less suggestive. The death-bed was 
invented." 

"M. P. may have recovered." 

"Yes, men of his age make a practice of jumping 
into their death-bed and then jumping out. It is 
good for them. It keeps them in training." 

"Oh, rubbish!" Verelst resentfully exclaimed. 

"No," Jones pursued. "The story was invented and 
the invention had a reason. If you like, you may ask 
what it is." 

"You seem to be very good at invention yourself. I 
shall ask nothing of the kind." 

"But you would like to know and I will tell you. It 
was invented to delay a possible announcement. It 
could have had no other object." 

"I said nothing of any announcement," Verelst 



THE PALISER CASE 179 

angrily protested. "What anouncement are you talk- 
ing about?'' 

'The heading of the filly for the sweepstakes. The 
expression — very graphic by the way — is your own." 

"'Graphic or not I wish you would drop it. Be- 
sides '' 

''Besides what?'' 

"Why, confound it, admitting the engagement, 
which I ought not to admit for it is not out yet, why 
should he play for delay?" 

"Ha!" exclaimed Joneis, whom the spectacle of 
Paliser and Cassy sailing up the Riverside had sup- 
plied with an impression or two. "I thought I would 
interest you. He played for delay because he feared 
that if it were known, a pitcher of ice- water might 
come dashing over it." 

"Why do you say that?" asked Verelst, eager and 
anxious enough for a spoke — if spoke there could be 
— to shove in a certain lady's wheels. 

"Given the man and the deduction is easy." 

The spoke was receding. Verelst, swallowing his 
disappointment, retorted: "Incoherence is easy too." 

"Well, you are right there," Jones, lighting another 
cigarette, replied. "But there is nothing incoherent 
in the fact that fear is magnetic. What we dread, we 
attract. If our winning young friend fears the pitcher, 
the pitcher will probably land on him. That is the 
reason why, to vary your various metaphors, I de- 
clared that there would be no downing on the race- 
course. On the contrary and look here. I will wager 
you not one pippin or two pippins, I will go so far as 
to lay a whole basket that Miss Austen becomes Mrs. 
Lennox." 

Verelst sniffed. "You don't know her mother." 



i8o THE PALISER CASE 

"No. I have not that honour. But I enjoy a bow- 
ing acquaintance with logic." 

"Do you, now? I wonder if it bows back. I'll 
book your bet." 

"Very good. Make it fancy pippins." 

Verelst stood up. "Fancy is the only term that 
could be applied them." 

"And of such is the Kingdom of Heaven," Jones 
told himself as the old man moved away. 

He looked about. The great room had filled. 
Stocks, money, war, the odour of alcohol, the smell 
of cigars, the rustling of evening papers, the sound of 
animated talk about nothing whatever, the usual atmos- 
phere had reassembled itself. 

From it he turned to the window, to the westering 
sun, to the motors, the smart gowns and the women 
who looked so delightful and of whom all had their 
secrets — secrets trivial, momentous, perverse or merely 
horrible. 

Again he turned. Lennox, who had approached, 
was addressing him. "You were at the law school. I 
have to make a will. Will you help me?" 

Serviceably Jones sprang up. "Come to my shop. 
It is just around the corner " 



XXIV 

AMONG the old brocades with which the room was 
fitted and which, together with the silver bed 
and the enamelled faience, gave it an earlier century- 
air, Cassy stood before a cheval-glass. 

She was properly dressed. Her costume, light 
cloth, faintly blue, was exquisitely embroidered. Be- 
neath it was lingerie of the kind which, it is said, may 
be drawn through a ring. Behind and between was 
Cassy, on whose docked hair sat a hat that was very 
unbecoming and therefore equally smart. 

A moment before she had thanked and dismissed 
Emma. Emma was the maid. With a slant of the 
eye, that said and suppressed many things, Emma had 
gone. 

Through the open windows came the call of birds, 
the smell of fresh turf. A patch of sky was visible. 
It was tenderly blue. There was a patch too of grass 
that showed an asparagus green. 

From the mirror Cassy went to a table and, from 
a jade platter, took a ring. It was made of six little 
hoops each set with small stones. She put it on. The 
platter held other rings. There was a sapphire, inch- 
long, deep and dark. She put that on. There was 
also an Australian opal and an Asian emerald, the 
latter greener than the grass. She put these on. 
Together with the wedding-ring they made quite a 
show. Too much of a show, she thought. 



i82 THE PALISER CASE 

Like the costume, the hat, like other costumes, more 
hats and box after box of Hngerie, they had all sur- 
prisingly dumped themselves, there, at her feet, the 
day after the wedding. The bundle, which she had 
brought with her, she had found very useless and so 
awkward that she would have given it to Emma, had 
it not seemed unsuited to a young person manifestly 
so fine. Since then it had been tucked away in a cup- 
board, safely out of sight. 

That was just five days ago, a brief eternity, dur- 
ing which life seemed to be driving her headlong to 
some unimagined goal. Until the evening previous 
she had had barely a moment. But on that evening, 
Paliser, who was dining at the Austens', had given her 
a few hours to herself. 

Now, on this afternoon, he was again in town. 

The air was very still. Afar, a train bellowed, 
rumbled, died away. From the garage came the bark 
of a dog, caught up and repeated on the hillside be- 
yond. On the lawn, a man in an apron was at work. 
Otherwise the air was still, fragant, freighted with 
spring. 

Cassy, turning from the table, went to the mirror 
again and tilted the hat. However unbecoming, it was 
certainly smart, and Cassy wondered what her father 
would think of Mrs. Monty Paliser. 

In the spaciousness of the name, momentarily she 
lost herself. It is appalling to be a snob. But there 
are attributes that pour balm all over you. In the 
deference of the bored yet gracious young women who, 
with robes et manteaux, had come all the way from 
Fifth Avenue, there had been a flagon or two of that 
balm. In the invariable ^'Thank you, mem's'' of the 



THE PALISER CASE 183 

Paliser personnel there had been more. It is appall- 
ing to be a snob. There are perfumes that appeal. 

Then also, particularly after Harlem, the great, 
grave, silent house had a charm that was enveloping, 
almost enchanted. Apparently uncommanded, it ran 
itself, noiselessly, in ordered grooves. Cassy fancied 
that somewhere about there must be a majordomo 
who competently saw to everything and kept out of 
the way. But she did not know. In her own rooms 
she was now at home, as she was also at home in the 
state chambers on the floor below. In regard to the 
latter, she had an idea — entirely correct, by the way — 
that at Lisbon, the royal palace — when there was one 
— could not have been more suave. But the rest of 
the house was as yet unexplored, though in regard to 
the upper storey she had another idea, that there was a 
room there close-barred, packed with coffins. 

The idea delighted her. In this Palace of the White 
Cat it was the note macabre, the proper note, the note 
that synchronised the circumambient enchantments. 
In the historical nights of which Perrault told, the 
princess had but a gesture to make, the offender sank 
dead. At once a bier was produced, the corpse was 
hurried away, and the veils of charm restored fell 
languorously. 

Yet, in that historical epoch, there subsisted — ^per- 
haps as a reminder of the vanities even of fairyland 
— the rose-leaf suggestively crumpled. The crumple 
affected Cassy but far less than she had expected. 
Paliser had been very gentlemanly. He had deferred 
to her in all things, agreed with her about everything, 
and though none the less he always had his own way, 
yet the pedestal was so obvious that if she had not 



i84 THE PALISER CASE 

known otherwise she might have thought herself con- 
tinuously upon it. 

The crumple was not there, or at least only such 
crumple as she had naturally awaited. The discom- 
fort of the leaf consisted in the fact that married she 
was not mated, that she did not love him, and prob- 
ably never could. 

Now, as she tilted her hat, the spaciousness of the 
name recurred to her. Its potentialities she had con- 
sidered before she accepted it, but only because of her 
father. The idea that it would lift him out of the 
walk-up, out of Harlem and cold veal, was the one 
excuse for her voyage to Cytherea. The voyage had 
been eminently respectable. Undertaken with full ec- 
clesiastical sanction, Aphrodite and her free airs had 
had nothing to do with it. None the less it was to 
Cytherea that she had gone — and to Lampsacus also, 
for all she and her geography knew to the contrary. 

Now, though, in tilting her hat, the disreputable 
beauty of the land was forgotten. She was in an- 
other and a fairer realm. A modern garden of the 
Hesperides lay about her. She saw herself distribut- 
ing the golden fruit. The mirror showed her a red- 
crossed Lady Bountiful in an ambulance, in two am- 
bulances, in a herd of ambulances, at the front. There 
was no end to the golden fruit, no end to his father's 
money, no end to the good he might allow her to do. 

The picture so delighted her that she flushed and 
in the emotion of it two tears sprang to her eyes that 
were not of the crying kind. 

She dried them, telling herself that if he framed the 
picture, she could love him, and she would. 

It would be all so perfect, not the loving, but the 
giving, the joy of giving, the joy of always giving. 



THE PALISER CASE 185 

of giving with both hands, of just shovelling it out 
and keeping at it, of never saying ''No," of saying, 
^'Yes, and here is more and here is more," of saying, 
too, "Don't thank me, it is for me to thank you." 
What joy ever was there, or ever will be, that can 
compare to that! 

Why, Tm crazy, she thought, and thought also, he 
never will but he might, he could and if he should 

Then at once the Paliser of the Savile Row clothes 
and the St. James's Street boots, the Paliser of the 
looking-glass hair and the Oxford voice, assumed the 
hue and stature of a deva. Love him! It would be 
something higher. It would be worship ! 

She made a face. It was sheer nonsense. He had 
an allowance which, obviously, was very liberal and 
with which he was liberal enough. Unlike many rich 
men he was not close. But to fancy him beneficent 
was laughable. Cassy could not imagine him in the 
role of Lord Bountiful. Then too there was some- 
thing queer about him. He hated to be alone. There 
are people who kill silence and he was one of them. 
He was always talking. Cassy could not understand 
it. To be silent with any one procures an intimacy 
which talk cannot supply. Moreover solitude was as 
necessary to her and as refreshing as her bath. Silence 
and solitude he could not endure. She tilted her nose 
and went to the window. 

That night they were to go to the opera. But in a 
moment she was to motor in and see her father. Since 
she put Harlem behind her, she had wondered and 
worried about him. The condition of his heart was 
hazardous and she had been told that any excitement 
might be fatal. She had worried over that, over his 
sudden rages at tradespeople, and she had been fearful 



i86 THE PALISER CASE 

lest Mrs. Yallum, the janitress, who spoke no known 
tongue, had, instead of being of use, only enraged him 
further. 

She would see to it, though. It was for that she 
was going in. As yet she had no money. But there 
were the rings and one more or one less, what did it 
matter? Of the lot she preferred the string of hoops. 
It was quaint, there was nothing philistine about it 
and probably it had not cost so very much. The 
emerald was different. It was a stone that would 
please any woman with plenty of money and a modi- 
cum of taste. Probably it had cost a thousand on 
Fifth Avenue, in which case it would fetch a hundred 
on Broadway. Or if not, then the sapphire would. 
Either or both she would hock very wilHngly. But 
not the hoop-ring and not the opal, unless she had to, 
and if Paliser, who apparently noticed nothing and saw 
everything, asked concerning them, why then she 
would out with it. Her father was a beggar ! Did he 
expect her to let him starve? But what on earth do 
you suppose I married you for ? For yourself ? Take 
a walk. I sold myself for bread — and butter, and 
you can fork them over. 

At the possibility of any such conversation — and of 
such language! — she flushed afresh and again called 
herself a fool. There could be no such conversation. 
Paliser would never question. He was too indifferent. 
The consciousness comforted, precisely as, a moment 
before, the picture of herself shovelling gold had 
moved her to tears. 

Then absently she found herself looking in the gar- 
den where the aproned man was at work. But it was 
Lennox that she saw. Again and again since the 
wedding-evening, when Paliser had told her of the 



THE PALISER CASE 187 

unscrambled eggs, she had wondered about the broken 
engagement. On that evening she had felt that she 
had taken the wrong road and had lost her way. The 
feeling was momentary. If Lennox had never been 
engaged, the result would have been the same. Not 
once had he so much as said boo! He had not even 
looked it. At table, on the wedding-evening, the un- 
scrambled eggs had not tasted very good, but reflec- 
tion had salted them and since then, in reviewing the 
matter, it had occurred to her that it was none of her 
business. 

Now as she looked out on the garden she wondered 
whether he had cared very greatly for this girl, for if 
he had, what then did she mean by throwing over a 
man who was too good for her, too good for anybody? 

She sighed and absently looked again at the gar- 
dener. He was bending down, occupied in planting 
something. Since she had first noticed him he had 
half -circled a parterre and she was about to telephone 
and ask if the car were ready when he straightened, 
turned, extracted a pipe and attempted to light it. 

The air was very still, there was no breeze, but the 
match was ineffective. On his trousers, with a back- 
ward movement, he struck another match and raised it 
to the bowl. The flame, faintly blue, mounted and, 
with it, a curl of smoke. But it was not Cassy or, more 
exactly, it was not her objective self, that saw it. It 
was her subjective self that registered and afterward 
reproduced that momentary and entirely commonplace 
incident. What the objective Cassy saw was not the 
flame or the smoke or the pipe, but the hand that held 
the match. It was thumbless. Many hands are. 
From the hand she looked at the man's face and gave 
a little scream, instantly suppressed. 



i88 THE PALISER CASE 

But her mouth twitched, she tried to swallow and 
she experienced, what was new to her, an odd sensa- 
tion in the epiglottis. She did not remember that she 
had ever been what is called sick at the stomach, none 
the less she realised that she was on the point of be- 
coming so. Like the little scream, she choked it back. 
But the immanence of nausea stifled her, and she sat 
down on a brocade-covered chair. 

Her hand had gone to her throat and though al- 
most at once the sensation subsided, she held it there. 
The gold bands of the rings that were pressed against 
her throat cooled it, but the palm of the hand was wet. 
Unconscious of that, she was unaware that she could 
not think. A crack on the head makes you dizzy and 
into her dizziness a somnolence had entered. The 
somnolence dulled all the cells of the brain save one 
and that one cell, vehemently active, was inciting her 
to some effort, though to what she did not know. 

'1 must get up," she presently told herself and told 
it once more. 

In the repetition of the words there was the effect 
of a spray. The irritability of the one active cell sub- 
sided, that of the others was aroused. Somnanbulism 
ceased. The entire brain awoke. But the truth had 
not yet fully permeated all the cerebral convolutions 
and the fact that it had not, manifested itself in the 
melodramatic phrase which, a week previous, Lennox 
had uttered, which all have uttered, all at least before 
whom the unforseen has sprung. 

"It is impossible!" 

She got up, went to the window, looked again. 
There was no impossibility there, no doubt even, or the 
peradventure of one. There was only the ineluctable 
truth. The aproned man disclosed it. His thumbless 



THE PALISER CASE 189 

hand had held the book. From his mouth, in which 
there was a pipe, had come the benediction. He was 
Dr. Grantly. That was the ineluctable truth, jthe 
truth which already perhaps she had intercepted in 
the land of Beauty and Horror. 

The first sight of it had sickened. Now the phys- 
ical efifect had gone. But the nausea in passing had 
been replaced by another sensation, deadlier, equally 
human, that made her red and hot, blurred her eyes, 
set her quivering, shook her, put her thoughts on fire, 
vitriolised her with hate. 

Nietzsche said that a woman's ability to hate is in 
proportion to her inability to charm. The brute 
omitted to add that a woman's ability to charm cor- 
responds to her evolution. 

There was nothing evolved about Cassy then. She 
had lapsed back into the primitive. Like Armide, she 
could have burned the palace that enchanted her. 
None the less, she did nothing. To do nothing may 
be very important. The inactivity saved her. Dur- 
ing it, the vitriol vaporised; the hate fell by. She 
was still trembling, her hands were unsteady, but the 
fever was departing, the crisis had passed, the primi- 
tive had slunk back into the cellars of the subcon- 
scious, and, in the chair, to which without knowing it 
she had returned, she faced it. 

Without, some one knocked and, getting no answer, 
accepted the invitation as most people do. 

"Beg pardon, Mrs. Paliser. The car is at the 
door." 

Cassy half turned. "What?" 

Emma reconstructed it. "Whenever you are ready, 
mem, the car will be waiting." 

Cassy turned away. "That will do." 



190 THE PALISER CASE 

"Thank you, mem." 

With that air which servants assume, Emma pursed 
her lips, reopened them, thought better of it, closed 
them and closed too the door. 

Facing it still, Cassy sat in the brocaded chair. 
Anger had shaken her and gone, taking with it its 
spawn which hatred is. What inhabited her then was 
disgust. 

I am in a nice mess, she told herself. But she told it 
without surprise, as though all along it was something 
which she might have known, could have avoided, but 
into which she had put her foot. A momentary vision 
of the red-crossed Lady Bountiful returned and she 
even smiled at it. It was a sad little smile though. 

Abstractedly, she had been turning and twisting the 
rings. The motion aroused her. It drew her atten- 
tion to them. They also had something to say. 
Something which they had been saying ever since the 
smoke curled from the pipe. She had not heard it 
then. There had been too many things tumbling about 
hen But now she did hear. She took them off, stood 
up and dropped them on the table where they fell be- 
tween gold-backed brushes and a vase, gorgeous in 
delicacy, the colour of ox-blood. 

From a cupboard she took the rowdy frock, the 
tam, the basilica underwear and, for a moment, 
searched and searched vainly for a pair of stockings. 
In hunting for them she unearthed the bundle, and 
that together with the other things, she threw on the 
bed, which was not brocaded, or even daised. It was 
silver. A few days before, when she had first seen it, 
she had clapped her hands. The vase too she had ap- 
jplauded. Now the lovely room, that had seemed so 
lovely, a curl of smoke had turned into a lupanar. 



THE PALISER CASE 191 

Quickly, one after another, the modish hat, the 
dehcious frock, the things that could be drawn through 
a ring, were removed and replaced. In the mirror she 
looked, stopped, looked again, adjusted the tarn and 
was going to the bed for the bundle when she heard 
a horn. Head-drawn, she listened. 

She would have so much preferred to leave without 
seeing him or speaking to him. If she could, she 
would have gone without a word, silently, in the only 
dignified manner that was possible. But, apparently, 
matters had arranged themselves otherwise. She went 
to the bed, took the bundle, moved back to the table and 
waited. 

She did not wait long. Paliser, with the pretence 
of a knock and a smile on his lips walked in — but not 
far. That frock, that bundle, the sight of her there, 
sufficed. He knew. With an awkwardness that was 
unusual with him, he closed the door and twisted his 
hat. The smile had gone from his lips. They were 
dry. 

Then as he looked at her and she looked at him — 
and with what a look! — words seemed such poor 
things. It was as though already everything had been 
said, as perhaps in the silent temples of their being, 
everything, accusations, recriminations, all the futili- 
ties of speech had been uttered, impotently, a moment 
since. A moment earlier she had said her say. As 
he looked at her he knew that she had and knew too, 
that before he entered the room, already she had 
heard his replies. 

The consciousness of this, equally shared by both, 
was so intense that, for a second, Cassy felt that every- 
thing happening then had happened ages ago, that she 
was taking part in a drama rehearsed on a stage la at 



192 THE PALISER CASE 

memory cannot reconstruct but which stood, and, it 
may be, still stands, back of those doors that close be- 
hind our birth. 

The hallucination, if it be one, and which, given cer- 
tain crises of the emotions, is common enough, van- 
ished abruptly as it had come. But two seconds had 
gone since Paliser entered the room, yet, in those 
seconds, both recognised that eternity had begun be- 
tween them. 

With his hat, a hat studiously selected, made to 
order, Paliser motioned and with the same studious- 
ness, selecting a platitude, he produced it. ''I was 
going to take you out.'' 

''After taking me in,'' Cassy in reviewing the situa- 
tion subsequently commented. But at the time she 
said nothing. She merely looked. Her rage was 
gone, her anger spent. Only disgust remained. It 
was that which her face expressed. It was withering. 

Paliser, steadying himself and, as was perhaps only 
natural, hedging still, resumed: ''But apparently you 
have other intentions." 

What a cad that blackguard is ! thought Cassy who 
still said nothing. 

"May I ask what they are?" 
Cassy threw up her chin. "My intentions are to 
leave " 

"But why?" 

"Don't presume to interrupt me. My intentions are 
to leave your assignation-house and have you horse- 
whipped." 

Paliser had been served with strong drink before, 
but none ever as strong as that. It steadied him. He 
had expected that when it got to her, as eventually it 
must, there would be the passionate upbraidings, the 



THE PALISER CASE 193 

burst of sobs, the Oh! Oh's!, the What will become 
of me?, the usual run up and down the scale and the 
usual remedies which a bank account supplies. He 
had expected all that. He had prescribed for it of- 
ten. There was not a symptom for which he did not 
know the proper dose and just when to administer it. 
But barely had he crossed the threshold before he 
realised that all his science would be in default. 

Cassy presented an entirely new case, but, fortu- 
nately, in the drink which she had served, he saw or 
thought he saw how to treat it. 

He gestured again. *'I never cared for scenes. But 
this house, which it has pleased you to describe from 
your knowledge of other establishments, is '' 

Whatever he may have intended to add, was in- 
terrupted. Cassy, previously inexorable as fate, but 
converted then into a fury, dropped the bundle and 
caught up the vase. Missing him, it hit the door, 
where musically it crashed and shattered. 

He turned, looked at it, looked at her, at the table. 
Barring the gold-backed brushes, the jade platter and 
that bundle, there was nothing that she could con- 
veniently shy, and, in his Oxford voice, but civilly 
enough, he gave it to her. 

"Allow me. There is no necessity whatever for 
your acting in this manner. The situation, such as it 
is, it had been my intention to remedy. It had been 
my intention, I say. But yesterday it came to my 
knowledge that it is because of your relations with 
Lennox that his engagement is broken.'* 

Take that, he mentally added and continued aloud : 
"I might not have believed the story, but I was told 
that Lennox admitted it." Take that, too, he mentally 



!194 THE PALISER CASE 

resumed. I shall be treated to tears in a minute and 
in no time it will be ''Kamerad !" 

Sidewise he looked at the ruin of the vase, on which 
Daughters of Heaven and an ablated dynasty may 
have warmed their eyes. It affronted his own. In- 
sult, yes, that could be tossed about, but not art, not 
at least the relatively unique. 

With a crease in his lips which now were dry no 
longer, he looked at Cassy. The awaited tears were 
not yet visible. But the blood-madness that had seized 
her, must have let her go, routed, as hsematomania 
may be, by the trivial and, in this instance, by a lie. 
That lie suffocated her. It was as though, suddenly, 
she had been garroted. 

The condition was only momentary, but, during it, 
a curtain fell on this vulgar drama, which was to af- 
fect so many lives. Before the girl a panorama 
passed. She saw herself leaving Lennox' rooms. She 
saw Margaret Austen, saw the woman with her, saw 
the former's candid eyes; saw the latter's ridiculous 
airs, saw the construction which between them they 
had reached and saw, too, the consequences that had 
resulted. The dirt with which she had been besplat- 
tered she did not see. The panorama did not display 
it. What it alone revealed was Lennox' disaster. 
Of herself she did not think and regarding Margaret 
she did not care. That which occupied her was Len- 
nox. 

But was it true? In PaHser nothing was true, not 
even his lies. For it was unaccountable that a matter 
so simple could not have been cleared with a word. 
But it was not unaccountable at all. It was obvious. 
Margaret, a born snob, had given Lennox no chance 
for that word. Some one, Paliser probably, had in- 



THE PALISER CASE 195 

vented the admission and she had refused to see him, 
after condemning him unheard. 

I will attend to that, Cassy decided. 

At once the suffocation ceased, the panorama sank, 
the scene shifted, the curtain parted, the drama pro- 
ceeded and she found herself staring at Paliser, who 
was staring at her. 

"As it is " he tentatively resumed and would 

have said more, a lot, anything to coerce the tears to 
her eyes and with them surrender. 

She gave him no chance. She took the bundle and, 
before he could continue, she passed him, opened the 
door, slammed it with a din that had in it the clatter of 
muskets, went down the stair and out to the perron, 
before which stood a car. 

"The station!'' she threw at the mechanician. 

The house now, jarred a moment earlier by the 
crash of porcelain and the slamming door, had re- 
covered its silence. 

From within, Emma, very agreeably intrigued, a 
footman with a white sensual face beside her, looked 
out with slanting eyes. 



XXV 

HARRIS, wrinkled as a sweetbread and thin as an 
umbrella, blinked at Cassy. **Mr. Lennox is out, 
mem/' 

"Then go and fetch him." 

Past the servant, Cassy forced her way through the 
vestibule, into the sitting-room, where the usual gloom 
abided, but where, unusually, were a smell of camphor, 
two overcoats, two trunks and a bag. 

Cassy, putting down the bundle, exclaimed at them. 
"He is not leaving town?'' 

"Yes, mem, to-morrow morning, for Mineola." He 
spoke grudgingly, looking as he spoke like a little old 
mule at bay. 

Cassy, noticing that, said : "See here, I don't mean 
to bully you, but it is most important that I should see 
Mr. Lennox — important for him, do you hear ?" 

"I hear you, mem, but I don't know where he is." 

"Then find out. There must be a telephone." 

Harris scratched his head but otherwise he did 
nothing. 

"Come!" Cassy told him. "Hurry!" 

Harris shifted. "I don't know as how he'd like it. 

He's been that upset these last few days. I " He 

hesitated. Visibly an idea had visited him with which 
he was grappling. "You're not from Miss Austen, 
now, are you?" 

Cassy caught at it. To confirm it would be fanciful. 

196 



THE PALISER CASE 197 

To deny it would be extravagant. Choosing an in- 
between for the benefit of this servant whom she knew 
to be English, she produced it. 

''I am the Viscountess of Casa-Evora." 

Harris wiped his mouth. A viscountess who had 
come only the other day with a bundle, and who now 
forced her way in with another bundle, did not coin- 
cide with such knowledge as he had of the nobility. 
But she was certainly overbearing enough to be any- 
body. 

He turned. **Very good, your ladyship, I'll tele- 
phone." 

Don't ladyship me, Cassy was about to reply, but 
judging that impolitic, she sat down. 

On the train in she had debated whether she would 
go first to Harlem or to Lennox and in either case what 
afterward she should do. She had a few dollars 
which her father would need. The thought of these 
assets reminded her that in changing her clothes she 
had omitted to change back into her own stockings. 
Well, when she changed again she would return the 
pair which she had on and, as she determined on that, 
she saw Paliser's face as she had seen it when she 
threw the vase. That relapse into the primitive shamed 
her. She had behaved like a fish- wife. But though 
she regretted the violence, she regretted even more 
deeply the vase. The destruction of art is so despic- 
ably Hun! For moxa, she evoked the Grantly mas- 
querade. 

The entire lack of art in that seemed to her incon- 
gruous with the surface Paliser whom she had known. 
But had she even known the surface which itself was 
a mask? Yet behind the mask was an intelligence 
which at least was not ordinary, yet which, none the 



198 THE PALISER CASE 

less, had descended to that ! She could not understand 
it. She could not understand, what some one later 
explained to her, that a high order of intellect does 
not of itself prevent a man from soiling it and, with 
it, himself and his hands. The explanation came later, 
when other matters were occupying her and when Pal- 
iser, headlined in the papers, was dead. 

Meanwhile the train had landed her in the Grand 
Central and she decided to go to Lennox first. 

Now as she sat in his sitting-room where, for all 
she knew, she might have to sit for hours, it com- 
forted her to think that she had so decided. If she 
had put it off until the morrow, Lennox would, by- 
then, have gone to the aviation-field, where he might 
be killed before she could patch things up. At thought 
of that, she wondered whether he might not stay out 
undiscoverably all night and send for his things to be 
fetched to the station. 

But in that case, Cassy promptly reflected, FU go to 
her, pull her out of bed, drag her there — and no 
thanks either. I didn't do it for you, I did it for him. 
He's too good for you. 

On the mantel, a clock struck, while thinly, through 
a lateral entrance, Harris emerged. 

"The hall-porter at Mr. Lennox' club says he's just 
gone out with Mr. Jones. Yes, ma'am.'' 

''Mr. Jones! What Mr. Jones ? The novelist ?" 

'T'm thinking so, ma'am. A very haffable gentle- 
man." 

"Try to get him. Ask if Mr. Lennox is there. Or, 
no, I'll do the talking." 

Then presently she was doing it, collaborating 
rather in the dialogue that ensued. 

"Mr. Jones?" 



THE PALISER CASE 199 

"Yes, darling." 

Cassy, swallowing it, resumed: "Mr. Jones, for- 
give a stranger for intruding, I " 

"Beautiful voice, forgive me. Triple brute that I 
am, I thought it was my aunt.'' 

"Then let me introduce myself. This is Miss Cara/' 

"Casta diva! You do me infinite honour!" 

"Mr. Jones, I must see Mr. Lennox. It is a matter 
of life and death.'' 

"Lennox is engaged with death now." 

"What!" 

"He is preparing for the great adventure. At this 
moment he is making his will. Miss Cara?" 

"Yes?" 

"Lennox takes even serious matters gravely." 

"But he is with you?" 

"In my workshop and at your service as I am." 

"You will let me come there?" 

"Enthusiastically and yet with all humility for I 
have no red carpet to run down the stair." 

"Then hold on to him, please." 

Ouf! sighed Cassy, as she hung it up. Another 
man who might be Mrs. Yallum's husband ! She took 
the telephone-book, found and memorised the address 
and turned to Harris. "Thank you very much. Will 
you mind giving me that package?" 

"Beg pardon, ma'am," the little man said, as he 
opened the door for her. "There's nothing more amiss, 
is there?" 

Cassy covered him with her lovely eyes. "When 
Mr. Lennox comes back here, he may tell you to un- 
pack." 

"Then may God bless your ladyship." 

Cassy went on. 



200 THE PALISER CASE 

At Jones' shop, a floor in a reconstructed private 
house, a man who had the air of performing a feat, 
showed her into a room that was summarily, but not 
spartanly, furnished. On one side was a bookcase 
supported by caryatides. Above, hung a stretch of 
silk on which was a flight of dragons. Above the silk 
was an ivory mask. Fronting the bookcase was the 
biggest table that Cassy had ever seen. 

Jones, vacating the table, advanced to greet her. 
Perched on his shoulder, was a cat that peered at her. 
It had long hair, the colour of smoke; a bushy tail; 
the eyes of an angel and a ferocious moustache. 

Although Cassy had other matters in hand, she ex- 
claimed at it. "What a duck !" 

Jones, who saw, and at once, that she had not come 
to ask the time of day, exclaimed also : ''Yes, but 
ducky is as ducky does. That cat talks in her sleep." 

But now Lennox, advancing too, had taken her 
hand. 

Withdrawing it, she put the bundle on the table, on 
which were papers, and, noticeably, a dagger, bril- 
liant, wicked, thin as a shadow. On the blade was a 
promise — Penetrabo. 

She looked up. Jones and the cat had gone. She 
looked at Lennox. ''I don't know where to begin." 

Lennox could not tell her. On learning that she 
wanted to see him, he had supposed it was about her 
father and he had said as much to Jones. But in 
greeting her, the novelist knew from her vibrations 
that whatever her object might be, at least it was not 
ordinary. Then, taking the cat, he had gone. 

Now, though, Cassy was at it. 'The day you 
loaned me a hundred, you remember ? As I went out 
I had the money in my hand. In the hall was Miss 



THE PALISER CASE 201 

Austen. You had just shown me her picture. I rec- 
ognised her at once. With her was a woman, thin- 
faced, thin-Hpped, thin-minded. She saw me, saw the 
money, gave me a look. I did not forget it. But it 
is only to-day that I learned what it meant. It meant 
that I am no better than I ought to be — or you either." 

Lennox had one hand on the table. He raised the 
other. "Who told you this?" 

'Taliser. He said it was the reason your engage- 
ment was broken." 

In the palm of the upraised hand, the fingers moved 
forward and back, regularly, methodically, mechani- 
cally. Lennox was unaware of it. He was unaware of 
anything except the monstrous perversity of the tale. 

**I came directly from him to your rooms. Your 
man said you were going away. Thank goodness, I 
am not too late." 

Cassy had seated herself, but now, reaching for the 
bundle, she stood up. Across the street, in the house 
opposite, a boy was lowering a shade. It seemed to 
Cassy that she had raised one. But there are expla- 
nations that explain nothing. To Lennox there was a 
shade suspended before Margaret, who had judged him 
unheard. It obscured her. He could not see her at all. 

Over the way, the boy lowered a second shade and 
Cassy, as though prompted by it, raised another. 'Tal- 
iser said you admitted it." 

From the obscurity Lennox turned, but it was still 
about him. ^'Admitted what?" 

Cassy reddened. ''What I told you." 

With the movement of the head that a bull has when 
he is going for you, Lennox bent his own. The 
movement, which was involuntary, was momentary. 
The shade had lifted. He saw Margaret, but behind 



202 THE PALISER CASE 

her he saw others holding her back, telHng her he was 
not fit to be spoken to. He was going for them. Mean- 
while he had forgotten Cassy. He looked up, saw 
her, remembered the part attributed to her in the story 
and struck the table. 

"'It is damnable that such a thing should be said of 
you.'' 

''Oh," Cassy put in. ''It was not at all on my ac- 
count that I told you. I '' She stopped short. 

The promised horsewhipping occurred to her. 

Lennox took up the knife, gave it a turn, shoved it 
away. It was very much as though he had twisted it 
in somebody's gizzards. The idea had come to him 
that Paliser had concocted the admission. But, as he 
was unable to conceive what his object could be, he 
dismissed it. None the less, for what the man had said, 
he deserved to be booted down the club steps. 

Cassy had stopped short. The story behind the 
story did not concern Lennox, yet as he might wonder 
how Paliser had ventured with her on such a subject, 
she began at it again. 

"We were married recently, or anyway I thought 
so. To-day I discovered that the ceremony was bogus. 
Then I told him a thing or two and he told me that." 

Lennox stared. Angry already, angry ever since 
the rupture, angry with that intensity of anger which 
only those who love — or who think they do — and who 
are thwarted in it ever know, and all the angrier be- 
cause he had no one and could have no one to vent it 
on, until he got to the front and got at the Huns, at 
that last fillip from Cassy he saw some one on whom 
he could vent it, and yet to whom none the less he felt 
strangely grateful. For, whatever Paliser had done 



THE PALISER CASE 203 

or omitted, at any rate, he had completely clarified the 
situation. 

"I must run,'' said Cassy. ''But you can tell Miss 
Austen, can't you?" 

Lennox, controlling himself, motioned. ''Would 
you mind repeating this to Jones?" 

Cassy's eyebrows arched themselves. "It was hard 
enough to tell you. Were it not for your engagement, 
I wouldn't have said anything. When dreadful things 
happen to a girl, people always think that she must be 
dreadful herself. Isn't that nice of them ? I " 

"See here," Lennox interrupted, "you can't leave it 
like this. Something has got to be done. I can give 
Paliser a hiding and I will. But that isn't enough. 
I don't know whether a criminal action will He, but I 
do know that you can get damages and heavy ones." 

Cassy's lovely eyes searched the room. "Who was 
that speaking? It wasn't you, was it?" 

Lennox, recognising the rebuke, acknowledged it. 
"Forgive me. I forgot whom I was addressing. Jones 
will be less stupid. Let us have him in." 

But when Jones, immediately requisitioned, ap- 
peared, Cassy again putting down her bundle, pro- 
tested. "Mr. Lennox regards me as an Ariadne and 
expects me to act like a young lady in a department- 
store. Either role is too up-stage." 

Jones, taken with her mobile mouth, her lovely eyes, 
the oval of her handsome face, said lightly : "It seems 
to me that you might assume any part." 

Lennox struck out. "Paliser hocuspocused her with 
a fake marriage. He " 

"Oh," Cassy gently put in, "I have no one to blame 
but myself. I ought to have known better." 

Jones nodded. "Probably you did know. The mis- 



204 THE PALISER CASE 

adventure is rare of which we are not warned in ad- 
vance. We cannot see the future but the future sees 
us. It sends us messages which we call premonitions." 

Instantly Cassy was back in the Tamburini's room, 
where she had seen both beauty and horror. She had 
not reached the latter yet and the sudden vision Len- 
nox dissipated. 

''Stuff and nonsense! Haven't you anything else to 
say?" 

Amiably Jones turned to him. ''I can say that no 
one is wise on an empty stomach." He turned to 
Cassy. 'The Splendor is not far. Will you dine with 
us, Mrs. Paliser?" 

Violently Lennox repeated it; *'Mrs. Paliser! Miss 
Cara is no more Mrs. Paliser than you are." 

"To err is highly literary," Jones with great meek- 
ness replied. "I hear that it is even human." 

Cassy reached again for the bundle. *'It is only 
natural. If I had been told in advance, I could not 
have believed it. I could not have believed that mock 
marriages occur anywhere except in cheap fiction. But 
we live and unlearn. Now I must run." 

Lennox took her hand. "I owe you a debt. Count 
on me." 

He spoke gravely and the gravity of it, the force 
that he exhaled, comforted Cassy 's bruised little heart 
and the comfort, the first that she had had, made her 
lip twitch. None of that, though! Reacting she ral- 
lied and smiled. 

"Good-bye — and good luck!" 

Jones saw her to the door, followed her out, fol- 
lowed her down to the street, where for a moment 
he detained her. 

"Just a word, if you don't mind. You have been 



THE PALISER CASE 205 

abominably treated and you seek no revenge. That 
is very fine. You have been abominably treated and 
you bear no malice. That is superior. You have 
been abominably treated and you accept it with a smile. 
That is alchemy. It is only a noble nature that can 
extract the beautiful from the base. Where do you 
live?" 

At the change of key Cassy laughed but she told him. 
"Good-bye," she added. *'My love to your cat." 

She passed on into the sunset. The bundle seemed 
heavy now, but her heart was lighter. She had got 
it off, Lennox knew, presently a young woman would 
be informed and though she could not be expected to 
dance at the wedding, yet, after all 

The Park took her. 



XXVI 

WHEN Cassy had gone, Jones went back to his 
rooms. He went absently, his mind not on her 
story, which was old as the Palisades, but on a situa- 
tion, entirely new, which it had suggested. 

**Nice girl," he remarked as he re-entered the work- 
shop. "Suppose we go and have dinner/' 

Sombrely Lennox looked up. At the table where 
he sat, he had been fingering some papers. He threw 
them down. 

"I am going to have a word with Paliser." 

Jones cocked an eye at him. ''See here, you are 
not a knight-errant. The age of chivalry is over." 
The novelist paused and exclaimed : "What am I say- 
ing! The age of chivalry is not over. It can't be. 
Last night, Verelst dined with a monster!" 

Lennox pushed at the papers. "If I were alone con- 
cerned, I would thank Paliser. He has done me a good 
turn. He has set me straight." 

Then, to the listening novelist, who later found the 
story very useful, Lennox repeated Cassy 's version of 
the rhyme and reason of the broken engagement. 

The tale of it concluded, Lennox flicked at a speck. 
"I am grateful to Paliser for that, but for the man- 
ner in which he treated her, I shall have a word with 
him. Just one." 

Jones sat down. "A word, eh? Well, why not? 
Flipping a man in the face with a glove was fashion- 

206 



THE PALISER CASE 207 

able in the days of Charles IL Tweaking the nose was 
Georgian. The horsewhip went out with Victoria. 
Posting your man was always rather coffee-house and 
a rough-and-tumble very hooligan. If I were you, 
which I am not, but if I were, I would adopt con- 
temporaneous methods. To-day we just sit about and 
backbite. That is progress. Let me commend it to 
you." 

With a wide movement, Lennox swept the papers, 
shoved them into a pocket and stood up. 

Jones also stood up. ''Got an appetite? Well, din- 
ing has the great disadvantage of taking it away. Come 
along.'' 

Lennox put on his hat. "I am going first to Park 
Avenue." 

No you're not, thought Jones, who, with an agility 
which for him was phenomenal, hurried to the door 
and backed against it. 

Lennox motioned him aside. 

Jones, without budging, lied. "They're out of 
town." It was very imbecile. He knew it was, knew, 
too, that Lennox knew it, and, for the imbecile lie, he 
substituted another. "I mean they are dining out." 

''What the devil are you driving at ?" Lennox asked, 
and not very civilly either. 

"A windmill, I suppose. You look like one. I — — " 

Jones broke off. The expression on Lennox' face 
arrested him. The attempt at interference, the stupid 
evasions, the conviction which these things produced, 
that there was something behind them, something se- 
creted, something about Margaret that Jones knew and 
which he was concealing, made him livid. 

*'Out with it." 

Jones looked at him, looked away, adjusted his neck- 



2o8 THE PALISER CASE 

cloth, vacated the door, crossed the room and sat down. 
He did not know to what saint to vow himself. But 
realising that it was all very useless, that everything 
is, except such solicitude as one pilgrim may show to 
another, and that, anyway, Lennox would soon hear 
it, he gave it to him. 

*'She is engaged to Paliser." 

Lennox, who was approaching, stopped short 
''Miss Austen is?'' 

Jones nodded. 

"To Paliser?'' 

But it seemed too rough and, to take the edge off, 
Jones added. ''It may not be true/' 

"How did you hear?'' 

"Verelst told me. He dined there last night." 

Lennox turned on his heel. Futilely in that hell to 
which one may look back and see that it was not hell 
but purgatory prior to paradise, futilely there he had 
sought the reason of his damnation. A few minutes 
before he had thought that Cassy's story revealed it. 
In the light of it he had seen himself condemned, as 
many another has been, for crimes which he had not 
committed. But he had seen, too, the order of release. 
He had only a word to say. He was going to Park 
Avenue to say it. 

When Jones was below with Cassy so he had thought 
and not without gratitude to Paliser either. If the 
cad had held his tongue, enlightenment might have 
been withheld until to his spirit, freed perhaps in 
Flanders, had come the revelation. Personally he was 
therefore grateful to Paliser. But vicariously he was 
bitter. For his treatment of that girl, punishment 
should follow. 

That girl! Obscurely, in the laboratory of the 



THE PALISER CASE 209 

senses where, without our knowledge, often against 
our will, our impulses are dictated, a process, intricate 
and interesting, which Stendhal called crystallisation, 
was at work. 

Unaware of that, conscious only of the moment, to 
his face had come the look and menace of the wolf. 

Now ! 

'There is a book over there," Jones, who was 
watching him, cut in. *'It is Seneca's 'De animae 
tranquilitate/ Take a peek at it. It will tell you, 
what it has told me, that whatever happens, happens 
because it had to happen and because it could not hap- 
pen otherwise. There is no sounder lesson in mental 
tranquillity." 

But for all Lennox heard of that he might then have 
been dead. Without knowing what he was doing, he 
sat down. Paliser, Margaret! Margaret, PaHser! 
Before him, on encephalic films, their forms and faces 
moved as clearly as though both were in the room. 
He saw them approaching, saw them embrace. The 
obsession of jealousy that creates the image, projected 
it. He closed his eyes, covered his face with his 
hands. The image got behind them. It persisted 
but less insistently. The figures were still there. It 
was their consistence that seemed to fade. Where 
they had been were shadows — evil, shallow, malign, 
perverse, lurid as torches and yet but shades. For the 
jealousy that inflames love can also consume it and, 
when it does, it leaves ashes that are either sterile 
with indifference or potent with hate. At the shadows 
that were torches Lennox looked with closed eyes. 
Obscurely, without his knowledge, in the laboratory 
of his senses, crystallisation was at work. 



210 THE PALISER CASE 

Jones, leaning forward, touched him. *'I say, old 
chap!" 

Lennox had been far away, on a journey from 
which some men return, but never as they went. At 
Jones' touch he dropped his hands. The innate senti- 
ment of form repossessed him. He straightened, 
looked about and, after the manner of the deeply pre- 
occupied, who answer a question ten minutes after it 
is put, said evenly: 

''Suppose we do." 

Do what? But Jones, getting it at once, stood up. 
"Come along, then.'' 

On the way to the neighbourly Athenaeum, the nov- 
elist talked endlessly about the disadvantages of not 
being born, which is a very safe subject. Talking still, 
he piloted Lennox to the dining-room where, the ad- 
vantages of sedatives occurring to him, he ordered a 
bottle of Pommard, which is mother's milk. 

But when it was brought Lennox would not touch 
it. He wanted brandy and soda and told Johnson, a 
captain, to see to it. 

In the great high-ceiled room, other members were 
dining. From one of the tables Ogston sauntered over 
and, noting that Jones and Lennox had not dressed, 
which he had, and very beautifully, remarked bril- 
liantly: "You fellers aren't going to the opera, are 
you? It's the last night." 

It was another safe subject and Jones smiled falsely 
at him. "But you are, eh? Sit down." 

Ogston put a hand on the novelist's chair. "No. 
I'm off to a theatre-party. But I have a ticket for the 
Metropolitan. You don't either of you want it, do 
you?" 

"Let me see, what is it, to-night?" Jones, with 



THE PALISER CASE 211 

that same false smile, enquired. "And where is the 
seat?" 

''In PaHser's box. He's to be alone and left it here 
with a note asking me to join him." 

Deeply, beneath his breath, Jones swore, but with 
the same smile, he tried to shift the subject. ''You're 
quite a belle, aren't you?" 

"See here, Ogston," Lennox put in, "let me have it." 

Ogston, fumbling in his white waistcoat, extracted 
the ticket and handed it over. 

"By the way, Lennox, do you mind my doing a 
little touting for Cantillon? He's with Dunwoodie. 
Give him your law business — some of it, anyhow." 

"ril give him some, when I have it," answered 
Lennox, who was to have some, and sooner and far 
more monumentally, than either he, or even Jones, 
suspected. 

"Good for you, Lennox. Good-night, Jones." The 
brilliant and beautifully dressed young man nodded 
and passed on. 

But now the captain was bearing down on them. 

Jones looked at Lennox. "You will have to come 
back to my shop after dinner. There is a phrase in 
your will that I omitted. I forgot the 'seized and 
possessed.' " 

Lennox drank before he spoke. Then he said: 
"After dinner, I shall do for PaHser." 

Jones, waiting until the captain had gone, looked at 
Lennox again. "The greatest revenge is the disdain 
of any." 

Lennox made no reply. A waiter put a plate before 
him and another before Jones. Members passed, 
going to their tables or leaving them. Occasionally 
one of them stopped, exchanged the time of day and 



212 THE PALISER CASE 

then passed on. In each exchange Jones collaborated. 
Lennox said nothing. The food before him he tor- 
mented, poking at it with a fork, but not eating it. 

Presently he asked for coffee, drank a cup and got 
up. 

Jones, too, got up and, to stay him, put out a hand. 

Lennox, treating it, and him, like a cobweb, went 
on. 

Afterward, Jones thought of the Wild Women of 
whom -^schylus tells, the terrible Daughters of Haz- 
ard that lurk in the shadows of coming events which, 
it may be, they have marshalled. 

Afterward he thought of them. But at the moment, 
believing that Lennox would do nothing and realising 
that, in any case, nothing can be more futile than an 
attempt to avert the inevitable, he was about to resume 
his seat, when something on the floor attracted him. 
He bent over, took it, looked at it and tucked it in a 
pocket. 

Then, sitting down again, mentally he followed 
Lennox, whom later he was to follow farther, whom 
he was to follow deep in the depths where the Wild 
Women, lurking in wait, had thrown him. 



XXVII 

THE Park that had taken Cassy and from which, 
at that hour, children and nursemaids had gone, 
was green, fragrant, quiet. Its odorous peace envel- 
oped the girl who had wanted to cry. In hurrying on 
she had choked it back. But you cannot always have 
your way with yourself. The tears would come and 
she sat down on a bench, from behind which a squirrel 
darted. 

Before her the grass departed, the trees disappeared, 
the path wound into nothingness. In their place was 
the empty vastness that sorrow is. The masquerade 
that had affected her physically, had affected her psy- 
chically and in each instance profoundly. It had first 
sickened and then stabbed. There had been no place 
for sorrow in the double assault. There had been no 
time for it either. Occupied as she had almost at once 
become with the misadventures of another, she had no 
opportunity to consider her own. Yet now the as- 
pect that sorrow took was not that of disaster. What 
it showed was the loneliness of the soul, solitary as it 
ever is in that desert which, sooner or later, we all 
must cross. Vast, arid, empty, before her it stretched. 

Nearby, on the bench, crouching there, eager, 
anxious, wary, a squirrel, its fluffy tail and tiny nos- 
trils aquiver, watched her with eyes of bead. From 
the desert she turned and seeing the little gracious 
thing, stretched her hand. She would have liked to 

213 



214 THE PALISER CASE 

take it and pet it. It would have made her solitude 
less acute. At the movement, a ball of misty fur 
bounded. Where it had been, there was air. 

The abrupt evaporation distracted her. Before her 
the desert lay, but in it now was her father. She had 
been going to him. Previously, she had thought that, 
when she did go, her hands would be filled with gifts. 
Instead they were bruised, bare to the bone. They 
would madden him and she wondered whether she 
could endure it. The long, green afternoon, that had 
been so brief, had been so torturesome that she doubted 
her ability. But he would have to be told. She could 
not lie to him and humanly she wished that it were 
to-morrow, the day after, the day after that, when it 
would be over and done for, put away, covered by 
woes of his own, though inevitably to be dragged out 
again and shown her, and shown her, too, with the 
unconscious cruelty that those who love you display. 

It would be crucifying, but there was no help for 
it. Reaching for the bundle, she stood up and went 
her way, across the Park, to the subway, from which 
she got out in Harlem. 

The loveliness of that land of love seemed to have 
changed, though the change, she then recognised, was 
in herself. But at least the walk-up was unaltered. 
In the grimy entrance was Mrs. Yallum, a fat Finn, 
who looked like a dirty horse, and who yapped at her 
volubly, incomprehensibly, but with such affection that 
Cassy, yapping back, felt less lonely as she ascended 
the stair. 

The comfort was mediocre. In the afternoon she 
had gone from a ruin. Now she had the sensation of 
entering another, one from which she had also gone, 
but to which she was returning and with a spirit so 



THE PALISER CASE 215 

dulled in the journey! Had she, she wondered, any 
spirit left at all? At least enough remained to pre- 
vent any wish for the reconstruction of the ruin be- 
hind her. About the fallen walls were forms of filth ; 
in the crevices there were vermin, and though, before 
her, the desert stretched, it was clean. However arid, 
it was wholesome. 

But now she was at the door. She let herself in, 
hurried to the living-room, where, with the feigned 
cheerfulness of the unselfish, she beamed at her father 
and bent over him. 

"Here I am to look after you again! How well 
you look. I am so glad and oh! where is your sling?" 

In speaking she stroked him. His skin was clearer, 
she thought, and the abandoned sling was a relief. 

He looked up at her. ''You got married without 
me. I ought to have been there. Why didn't you 
tell me ? It was for me to give you away. Who did T' 

"Who did what?" 

"Who gave you in marriage?" 

With the mimic of gaiety, Cassy laughed. "Why, 
you old dear, all that has gone out. Hereabouts, nowa- 
days, a father never goes to a wedding — only to 
funerals." 

She paused and, with the idea of breaking it to him 
in bits, resumed : ''Besides, it was all done in a hurry, 
in too much of a hurry." 

He took it in, but at the wrong end. "Sick of him 
already, eh? Well, it isn't because I did not warn 
you. Where is he?" 

Cassy moved back. Should she give it to him then 
or later? But the question, repeating itself, followed 
her. 

"Where is your husband ?" 



2i6 THE PALISER CASE 

Now for it, she thought. But at once he switched. 
''There was nothing in the papers. Why is that? 
What is that package?'' 

Cassy looked at the bundle which she still held. It 
gave her courage. 

'1 am not married." 

For a second he stared. It was obvious that he 
had not got it. ''Where have you been, then?'' 

Cassy fingered the bundle. Always she had hated 
to explain and of all possible explanations what could 
be more hateful than this? If only he would guess it, 
flare up, stamp about, get it over, let it go. But the 
cup was there and she drank it. 

"I thought I was married. I am a fool." 

For the awaited curse, she braced herself. The 
explosion did not come, but his eyes had widened. 
They covered her. Then, with an intake of the breath 
and of understanding, he lowered them. Apparently 
he was weighing it and Cassy thought he was trying 
to restrain himself, and she blessed him for it. It 
was less terrible than she had feared. But immedi- 
ately it occurred to her that instead of trying to re- 
strain himself, he was seeking the strength wherewith 
to rend her. And I am so innocent, she despairfully 
thought. 

Her eyes were upon him and he looked up into hers, 

"Why did you think you were married?" 

"I told you, because I am a fool. There was a 
clergyman and a ceremony. Afterwards I found that 
the clergyman was not a clergyman and that the cere- 
mony was a sham." 

"When was that?" 

"This afternoon." 

"What did you do?" 



THE PALISER CASE 217 

'*What was there for me to do? I left him/' 

*'Where is he now?" 

Cassy put down the bundle. She had no idea. But 
she said : ''This evening we were to go to the opera. 
I hardly fancy he will miss it on my account." She 
paused and with a little catch in her voice continued : 
*'I know it is all my fault, I ought to have known bet- 
ter and I shall be so unhappy if you mind. Won't you 
try not to?" 

As she spoke, he stood up and she thought that the 
delayed volcano of his wrath was about to burst. To 
smother it, she touched him. ''Of course you will 
mind. But I would not have been such a fool if I had 
not believed that everything would be so much nicer 
for you. Can't you see that and, if you do, can't you 
forgive me?" 

He had moved from her to the piano; there he 
turned and looked. *'There is nothing to forgive, 
Cassy. You have been a good girl always. I am 
sorry, of course I am sorry, but you are not to blame." 

Understanding instead of maledictions! Sympathy 
in lieu of abuse ! Such things are affecting. The tears 
swam to her eyes and wretchedly and yet thankfully 
she wept. 

He did not seem to notice. In the narrow space he 
was moving about, shifting things on the piano, dis- 
placing and replacing a score, which, finally, he let 
fall. He stooped for it. As he raised it, Cassy saw 
through her tears that his hand was shaking. He, too, 
may have seen it. He left the room and she heard him 
pottering in the kitchen. 

She wiped her eyes. Across the court was another 
kitchen in which were a woman and a child. Often 
she had seen them there, but if she had seen them else- 



2i8 THE PALISER CASE 

where she would not have recognised them. They 
were but forms, the perceptions of a perceiver, and 
though Cassy had never read Fichte and was unac- 
quainted with Berkeley, the idea visited her that they 
had no real existence, that, it might be, she had none 
either, that all she had endured was a dream drifting 
by, with nothing past which to drift. 

It was her father's attitude that had induced these 
metaphysical hysterics. She had expected that some 
demon within him would spring out and gibber. In- 
stead of which he had told her, and so gently, that 
she was not to blame. It is words like these that bring 
tears swiftest. The tears had come, but the words 
had also sufficed to reduce the people across the way 
into baseless appearances, in which, for the moment, 
she included herself. 

But now at least her father was actual. He was 
coming in with glasses and a bottle which he put on 
the table. 

''You are tired," he said. "Have a little." 

Seating himself, he drank and Cassy feared that if 
the liquor exerted the authority that liquor has, he 
might go back into it and exact from her details which 
it would revolt her to supply. In helping himself, 
he had poured a glass for her. She did not want it. 
What she wanted was bed and the blanket of long, 
dreamless sleep. It could not be too long. She was 
tired, as he had said, but more so than he knew, tired 
with the immense fatigue that emotions and their crises 
create. 

She moved over to where he sat. Several minutes 
had gone since he spoke yet it seemed to her but the 
moment before. 



THE PALISER CASE 219 

**Yes, I am tired, but you're a good daddy and I 
love you/' 

She bent over him, went to the kitchen, got a glass 
of milk and a biscuit, which she carried to her room, 
where she opened the window and closed the door. 

Long later, when she awoke, it was with the con- 
sciousness of something there, something waiting, 
something evil, something that had jeered and pum- 
melled her in her sleep. But what? Then, instantly, 
she knew. A palace of falsehoods had tumbled about 
her and the lies had laughed and bruised her as they 
fell. They had been laughing and falling the whole 
night through. 

The light distracted her. In the morning, because 
of the building opposite, her room was dark. Now 
it was bright. The sun had scaled the roof. A gleam 
looked in and told her it was noon. 

How could I have slept so long? she wondered. 
She put some things on and opening the door smelled 
coffee. The poor dear! she thought, he had to make 
it himself. 

She went on into the living-room. There her father 
sat. . On the table before him was a paper. 

Without speaking he pointed at a headline. The 
letters squirmed. They leaped and sprang at her. 
From before them she backed. But what nonsense! 
It was impossible. She could not believe it. Yet 
there it was ! Abruptly there also was something else. 
An electric chair, the man of all men in it ! 

From before the horror of that she reeled, steadied 
herself, looked at her father, looked without seeing 
him. 

"God of gods! And I did it!" 



XXVIII 

IN high red boots, wide purple breeches and a yel- 
low mandarin jacket, Jones entered the workshop. 

His appearance did not alarm him. He was in- 
visible. Lloyd George and Clemenceau might have 
called. Mr. Ten Eyck Jones was not at home, sir. 
If necessary he was dead. Always, while he dressed, 
his servant put, unseen, a tray on the workshop table 
and, still unseen, disappeared. With the tray was the 
morning paper and the usual letters, which Jones never 
read. Morning in the workshop meant work. No in- 
terruptions permitted. On one occasion the house 
got on fire. His servant did not venture to tell him, 
though the firemen did. Apart from such outrages, 
necessarily infrequent, the only intrusion was the 
morning paper and the cat that talked in her sleep. 
The cat had many privileges, the paper had few. 
Sometimes it was briefly considered, more often it 
was not even looked at, but its great privilege con- 
sisted in being stacked. 

On this morning Jones did look, but quite involun- 
tarily, and only because a headline caught his eye. 
It was the same headline from before which Cassy 
backed. The leaping words shouted at the girl. They 
shouted at the novelist, a circumstance which did not 
prevent him from breakfasting. 

The fruit, the crescents, the coffee he consumed, 
not as was customary, with his thoughts on his own 

220 



THE PALISER CASE 221 

copy, but on that which the paper supplied. It was 
very colourful. At the opera, the night before, Monty 
Paliser had been killed. 

In New York, many men are killed, but not so many 
are murdered and of those that are murdered, few 
are millionaires and fewer still have a box at the Met- 
ropolitan, where, apart from stage business, no one up 
to then had been done for. The case was therefore 
unique and, save for the assassination of Abraham 
Lincoln, without a parallel. In the circumstances, the 
leaded line of leaping words was justified. 

According to the story that followed and which, 
Jones realised, must have reached the city editor just 
as the paper was going to press, an attendant, whose 
duty it was to visit the boxes after the performance 
and see what, if anything, the occupants had forgot- 
ten, had, on entering Paliser's box, found him at the 
back of it, unconscious, on the floor. There were no 
external marks of violence, but a commandeered 
physician pronounced him dead and, on examination, 
further pronounced that death was due to internal 
hemorrhage, superinduced by heart-puncture, which 
itself had been caused by some instrument, presum- 
ably a stiletto. 

A picturesque detail followed. The box at the right 
was owned by the Leroy Thompsons. The box at 
the left was the Harri wells'. At the late hour, an at- 
tempt to communicate with the former had failed, 
but over the wire, Mr. Legrand Harriwell stated that 
the deceased had come in during the third act, that 
he had spoken to Mrs. Harriwell, after which he had 
moved back and had either gone, or remained in the 
rear of the box. Mr. Harriwell knew nothing else, 
he had been unaware of anything occurring, he was 



222 THE PALISER CASE 

not in the habit of spying about and he wished it dis- 
tinctly understood that he must not be mixed up in 
the matter, or Mrs. Harriwell either. 

The dear thing ! thought Jones, who saw him, a tall, 
thin-lipped beast of a brute, with a haw-haw manner 
and an arrogant air. God bless him! 

But, Jones resumed to himself, voyons ! The opera 
was A'ida. Paliser came in during the third act. The 
house then is brilliant. But during the fourth — the 
duo in the crypt — it is dark. It was then that he was 
done for and with what is assumed to have been a 
stiletto. 

To cut out the account, Jones turned in search of a 
dagger, long, thin, wicked, which, one adventurous 
night in Naples, he had found — just in time — in his 
back. On the blade was inscribed a promise, Pene- 
trabo. Now his eyes roamed the table. He lifted 
the tray, lifted his copy, looked on the floor. Yet only 
the evening before, when Lennox was there and Cassy 
Cara had come, he had seen it. Since then it had 
gone. 

The disappearance did not disturb him. Occasion- 
ally, in hunting for an object, he found it in his hand. 
It is somewhere, he cogently reflected and, taking a 
pencil, set to work. 

But the muse was timorous as a chicken. The meta- 
phor is entirely metaphorical. Jones had no faith in 
the wanton. He believed in regular hours, in silence 
and no interruptions. No intrusions of any kind. A 
letter was an intrusion, so also was the news of the 
day. These things he considered, when he did con- 
sider them, after his work was done. Sometimes he 
ignored them entirely. Usually he had a bushel of 
letters that he had not opened, a bale of papers at 



THE PALISER CASE 223 

which he had not looked. Of such is the life known 
as literary or, at any rate, such was the life led by 
Jones. 

On this morning, his copy, ordinarily fluent enough, 
would not come. Ideas fluttered away just out of 
reach. The sequence of a chapter had been in his 
head. Like the dagger, it had gone. He could not 
account for that disappearance, nor did he try. It 
would turn up again. So, ultimately, would the ousted 
sequence. For the latter's departure he did not try 
to account either. The effort was needless. He knew. 
An interruption had occurred. The news of the day 
had intruded itself upon him. A headline had en- 
tangled his thoughts. 

Abandoning the pencil, he lit a cigarette. Across 
the room, above the bookcase, was a stretch of silk, 
a flight of dragons that he had got in Rangoon. Above 
the silk was an ivory mask, the spoil of a sarcophagus, 
which he had found in Seville. He looked at them. 
The dragons fled on, the mask fell asleep. Something 
else took their place. 

On the wall was the scene at the opera. 

In the golden gloom of the darkened house, it 
showed Paliser, sitting back in his box, presumably 
enjoying the Terra addio, for which Caruso had, as 
usual, been saving himself. Without, in the corridor, 
a figure furtively peering at the names on the doors. 
Then the voice of the soprano blending with that of 
the tenor and, during the divine duo, the door of the 
box opening, letting in a thread of light ; Paliser turn- 
ing to look and beholding that figure and a hand which, 
instantly descending, deepened the gloom forever. 

It was certainly Terra addio, Jones reflected. Cer- 



224 THE PALISER CASE 

tainly, too, the scene is easy enough to reconstruct. 
But whose was the hand? 

FHcking his ashes, he looked about and saw two 
hands, between which, he also saw, he was entirely 
free to pick and choose. One hand, slight and fragile, 
was Cassy Cara's. The other, firm and virile, was 
Lennox'. 

Lennox had threatened. He had been acidly mur- 
derous. He had a motive. He had the opportunity. 
He knew where Paliser would be. He had been sup- 
plied with a seat in that box. The hand was his. It 
was a clear case. That was obvious, particularly to 
Jones, who regarded the obvious as very misleading. 

Given the chance, he reflected, and Lennox might 
have done for Paliser, but he would have done for 
him with bare fists, never with a knife. It was not 
Lennox to use one. It was not Lennox at all. 

Jones threw him out and pulled in Cassy Cara. 

The case against her was equally clear. Presuma- 
bly she owned the stiletto which a hat pin is. In ad- 
dition, she also had a motive. If ever a girl had cause 
to up and do it, she had. Then, too, the risk was 
negligible. Any jury would acquit and tumble over 
each other to shake hands with her. For equity has 
justice that the law does not know. Moreover there 
are crimes that jurists have not codified. Some 
are too inhuman, others too human. Cassy's right- 
ing of her own wrongs belonged among the latter. 
Cassy's, that is, provided she had done it. But had 
she? Logically, yes. If the police could look behind 
the scenes, logically they would say to her, 'Thou art 
the man." 

But, Jones resumed, logic when pushed far enough 
becomes incoherence. The psychologist prefers vi- 



THE PALISER CASE 225 

sion and it would display none to believe that she did 
it. In the abstract, that is to be regretted. A lovely 
assassin! A beautiful girl slaying a recreant lover! 
A future prima donna killing a local millionaire! 
Monty Paliser murdered by the Viscountess of Casa- 
Evora! And at the opera! If I had ever put any- 
thing of the kind in my copy, reviewers would have 
indolently asked: *'Why doesn't this imbecile study 
Hfe?" 

Jones laughed. The enjoyment of one's own ideas 
— or of the absence of them — is a literary trait. When 
Dumas wrote, he roared. 

Here it is, then, Jones continued. If the police knew 
certain things they would nab Lennox. If they knew 
others, they would nab Cassy Cara. If they knew 
more, they would nab me. I should be held as a wit- 
ness. This is cheerful, particularly as my sole com- 
plicity in the matter has been due to a desire to be of 
use. But that is just it. Through the enigmatic laws 
of life, any kindness is repaid in pain. 

Pleasurably, for a moment, he considered the altru- 
ism of that aphorism. Then he got back at the mur- 
der which, he decided, must have been premeditated 
by some one who knew where Paliser would be. That 
conclusion reached, he groped for another. Lennox 
knew, but did Cassy know, and, if she did, had she 
utilised the knowledge? 

To decide the point he reviewed the visit of the 
previous evening. 

Ostensibly Cassy's visit had been occasioned not 
by any wish to relate what had happened to her, but 
to acquaint Lennox with the cause of what had hap- 
pened to him. In view of what had befallen her, the 
proceeding was certainly considerate. In the misad- 



226 THE PALISER CASE 

ventures of life, the individual is usually so obsessed 
by his own troubles that they blind him to those of 
another. But ostensibly Cassy had sunk her troubles 
and had pulled them up, not to exhibit them, but to 
show Lennox the lay of the land as it affected not her 
at all but him. The proceeding was certainly consid- 
erate — unless it were astute, unless her object had been 
to employ Lennox for the wreaking of her own re- 
venge. 

That was possible, but was it probable? 

An ordinary young woman would have gone at it 
differently, gone at it hammer and tongs. Cassy's 
methods were merely finer. That was the common 
sense view. But was it psychology? The common 
sense view that is applicable to the average individual 
is inapplicable to a problematic nature and, conse- 
quently, not to Cassy, who must therefore have had 
another incentive for her visit, an incentive stronger 
than the primitive instinct for revenge. 

But, Jones asked himself, what are the fundamental 
principles of human activity? They are self-preser- 
vation and the perpetuation of the species. Every 
idea that has existed, or does exist, in the mind of 
man is the result of the permutations and combina- 
tions of those two principles, of which the second is 
the stronger and its basis is sex. That is what actuated 
Cassy. She is, or was, in love with Lennox, and told 
him for no other reason. 

That is it, Jones decided. But the course of her 
true love could not have run very smooth and, know- 
ing that Lennox was otherwise interested, she took 
up with Paliser out of pique. 

Pique ! he repeated. But no, that is not Cassy Cara 
either. She — — 



THE PALISER CASE 227 

Like a thread snapped suddenly, the novelist's medi- 
tations ceased. On the wall before him the dragons 
alighted, the mask awoke. Between them a canvas 
was emerging. Dim, shadowy, uncertain, it hesi- 
tated, wavered, advanced. 

Then, as it hung unsupported in the air — far too 
unsupported, he presently thought — he looked it over. 

To apparitions he was accustomed. They were part 
of his equipment. Unsummoned, without incanta- 
tions they came, sent, one might think, by the muse 
whom he derided, but more naturally and very simply 
produced by the machinery in his brain. 

Now, as he examined the canvas, its imprecision 
diminished, the shadows passed, the obscurity lifted, 
the penumbra brightened, outlines defined themselves, 
the colouring appeared, a colouring, after the manner 
of Rembrandt, composed of darkness in which there is 
light and which, as such, reveals. 

Jones stood up, turned around and sat down again 
as gamblers, disquieted by their luck, will do. 

Before him still the picture floated. He disavowed 
it, disowned it. Yet there it was, the child of his 
fancy, the first-born of the morning, the fruit of his 
concentrated thought, and as, surprisedly, he consid- 
ered it, it took on such semblances of legitimacy, that 
the disavowals ceased. Then, slowly disintegrating, 
its consistence lessened. It was departing, vaporously 
as it had come. Jones waved at it, omitting out of 
sheer abstraction to say Au revoir, yet omitting also, 
and through equal modesty, to say Eureka! 

He pressed a button. Instantly, as though sprung 
from a trap, his servant appeared. 

*'Gct Mr. Lennox on the telephone." 



228 THE PALISER CASE 

The minutes lengthened. Finally the servant re- 
appeared. 

''Mr. Lennox is not at home, sir. His man says 
he's gone to Centre Street. He's been arrested. Mr. 
Lennox has been arrested. Yes, sir." 

Pausing, the servant cocked an ear and added: 
^They're calling extras, sir. Would you wish one?'' 

Circuitously, through the open door, the cat, her tail 
in the air, approached and wowed. 

Jones leaned over and tickled her in the stomach. 
The cat hopped up on him. He put a finger to his fore- 
head, held it there, removed it and looked at the man. 

**In war-time, with the price of everything going 
up, it is a criminal waste of money to buy an extra — 
particularly when you know what isn't in it," 

''Yes, sir." 

Jones motioned. "Look through the old news- 
papers. Among the March issues there is one that has 
an article entitled 'The Matter of Ziegler.' Let me 
have it." 

The cat, now on his shoulder, purred profusely in 
his ear. Raising a hand, he tickled her again. 

"Mimi-Meow, this Matter of Ziegler may interest 
us very much and after we have looked it over, I will 
attend to our friend von Lennox, who seems to have 
become a Hun." 



XXIX 

ALREADY over the picked-up codfish, flapjacks, 
Hamburg steaks and cognate enticements on 
which the Bronx and Harlem breakfasts, the news of it 
had buttered the toast, flavoured the coffee, added a 
sweetness to this April day and provided a cocktail 
to people who did not know Paliser from the Pierrot 
in the moon. That he was spectacularly wealthy was 
a tid-bit, that he had been killed at the Metropolitan 
was a delight, the war news was nothing to the fact 
that the party with the stiletto had escaped '*unbe- 
knownst/' These people were unacquainted with 
Paliser. But here was a young man with an opera- 
box of his own, and think of that! Here was the 
mythological monster that the Knickerbocker has be- 
come. Here was the heir to unearned and untold in- 
crements. These attributes made him as delectable 
to the majority who did not know him, as he had be- 
come to the privileged few who did. 

Elsewhere, and particularly in and about fashion's 
final citadel which the Plaza is, solemn imbeciles viewed 
the matter vehemently. "Young Paliser! Why, 
there is no better blood in town ! By Jove, I believe 
we are related!'' 

Or else: "That's M. P.'s son, isn't it? Yes, here it 
is. I never met the old cock but I heard of him long 
before we came East. A damned outrage, that's what 
I call it." 

229 



230 THE PALISER CASE 

Or again: "Dear me, what Is the world coming to? 
What a blessing it is we were not there. They might 
have come and murdered us all !" 

Adjacently, in clubland, old men with one foot in 
the grave and the other on Broadway, exchanged 
reminiscences of the nights when social New York 
was a small and early family party and M. P. led the 
ball, and at a pace so klinking that he danced beyond 
the favours of the cotillon — the german as it, the cotil- 
lon, was then lovingly called — into assemblies, cer- 
tainly less select, but certainly, too, more gay, and had 
horrified scrumptious sedateness with the uproar of his 
orgies. 

The indicated obituaries followed. "Well, at any 
rate, they didn't murder him for it." "The son now, 
a chip of the old block, eh?" "Nothing of the kind, 

a quiet young prig." "The papers say " "Damn 

the papers, they never know anything." "You mean 
they don't print what they do know." "I mean they 
don't give us the woman. For it was a woman. I'll 
eat my hat it was a woman." "Let's have lunch 
instead." 

Generally, for the moment, that was the verdict, one 
in which the police had already collaborated. But 
what woman? And, assuming the woman, whence 
had she come? Where had she gone? — problems, 
momentarily insoluble but which investigations, then 
in progress, would probably decide. 

At the great white house on upper Fifth Avenue, 
the servants knew only that they knew nothing. Noth- 
ing at all. Already coached, they were sure and un- 
shakable in their knowledge of that. A Mr. Harvey 
— from Headquarters — could not budge them an inch. 
Not one! 



THE PALISER CASE 231 

The night before, at the first intelligence of it, 
M. P. came nearer to giving up the ghost than is com- 
monly advisable. Suffocation seized him. An incu- 
bus within was pushing his life-springs out. So can 
emotion and an impaired digestion affect a father. 
The emotion was not caused by grief. It was fear. 
For weeks, for months, during the tedium and terror 
of the trial, his name, Paliser, would top the page! It 
had topped it before, very often, but that was years 
ago. Then he had not cared. Then the wine of youth 
still bubbled. No, he had not cared. But that was 
long ago. Since then the wine of youth had gone, 
spilled in those orgies which he had survived, yet, in 
the survival, abandoned more and more to solitude and 
making him seek, what the solitary ever do seek, in- 
conspicuousness. For years he had courted obscurity 
as imbeciles court fame. And now! 

If only the boy had had the decency to die of pneu- 
monia ! 

It was then the incubus gripped him. For a second 
he saw the visage, infinitely consoling, that Death can 
display and possibly, but for an immediate drug, there 
too would have echoed the Terra addio! 

He was then in white velvet. A preparation of 
menthe, dripping from a phial, spotted it green. He 
did not notice. At the moment the spasm had him. 
Then as that clicked and passed, he looked in the 
expressionless face of the butler who had told him. 

The spasm had shaken him into a chair. 

The room, an oblong, was furnished after a fashion 
of long ago. The daised bed was ascended by low, 
wide steps. Beyond stood a table of lapis-lazuli. A 
mantel of the same material was surmounted by a 
mirror framed in jasper. Beneath the mirror, a fire 



232 THE PALISER CASE 

burned dimly. The lights too were dim. They were 
diffused by tall wax candles that stood shaded in high 
gold sticks. On the table there were three of them. 

The chair was near this table, at which M. P. had 
been occupied very laboriously, in doing nothing, a 
task that he performed in preparation for the bed, 
which was always ready for him, and for sleep, which 
seldom was. There he had been told. It had shaken 
him to his feet, shaken apoplexy at him and shaken 
him back in the chair. 

Now, as he looked at the servant's wooden mask, 
for a moment he relived an age, not a pleasant one 
either and of which this blow, had he known it, was 
perhaps the karma. He did not know it. He knew 
nothing of karma. None the less, with that curious 
intuition which the great crises induce, he too divined 
the woman and wished to God that he had kept his 
hands off, wished that he had not interfered and told 
Monty to put her in a flat and be damned to her! 
It was she, he could have sworn it. At once, precisely 
as he wished he had let her alone, he hoped and quite 
as fervently that she had covered her tracks, that 
there would be no trial, nothing but inept conjectures 
and that forgetfulness in which all things, good and 
bad, lose their way. 

The futility of wishing passed. The time for ac- 
tion had come. He motioned. *'Is Benny here?" 

''He left this noon, sir." 

"Did he say anything?" 

The butler did not know whether to lie or not, but 
seeing no personal advantage in either course, he 
hedged. ''Very little, sir." 

That little, the old man weighed. A little is often 
enough. It may be too much. 



THE PALISER CASE 233 

''He spoke about a girl, eh?" 

*'He said a lady was stopping there. Yes, sir/' 

''What else?'' 

The butler shuffled. ''He said she was very pretty, 
sir.'' 

"Go on, Canlon." 

"Well, sir, it seems there was a joke about it. The 
young lady thought she was married." 

"How was that?" 

"I'm not supposed to know, sir. But from what 
was let on, Benny was rigged out as a dominie and it 
made 'em laugh." 

The old man ran his head out like a turtle. "Damna- 
tion, what has that to do with it?" 

"Why, sir, he pretended to marry her." 

"Benny did?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"He pretended that she was his wife." 

"No, sir, he pretended to marry her to Mr. Monty." 

"Good God !" the old man muttered and sank back. 
The blackness was blacker than any black he had en- 
tered. In days gone by, he had agreeably shocked 
New York with the splendid uproar of his orgies. He 
had left undone those things which he ought to have 
done and done those things which he should have 
avoided. He had been whatever you like — or dislike 
— but never had he been dishonest. Little that would 
avail him now. If this turpitude were published, it 
would be said that he had fathered it. At the prospect, 
he felt the incubus returning. In a moment it would 
have him and, spillingly, he drank the green drug. 

The agony receded, but the nightmare confronted 
him. He grappled with it. 



234 THE PALISER CASE 

"The coat I had on at dinner. There is a card-case 
in the pocket. Give it to me." 

Probably it was all very useless. Probably no mat- 
ter what he contrived, the police would ferret her out. 
There was just one chance though which, properly 
taken, might save the situation. 

The card-case, pale damask, lined with pale silk, 
the man brought him. He put it on the table. 

"Canlon!" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Benny said nothing." 

"Very good, sir." 

"I have a few hundred for you here, between eight 
and nine, I think." 

"Thank you, sir." 

"To-morrow there will be more." 

"I am sure I am very grateful, sir." 

"Don't interrupt me. Recently my son returned 
from Cuba. Occasionally he went visiting. Where 
he went, he did not tell you. That is all you know. 
You know nothing else. You heard nothing. No- 
body here heard anything. Nobody, in this house, 
knows anything at all. You understand?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Then see to it. The police will come. You must 
be at the door. You know now what to say. They 
will want a word with me. I am too prostrated to 
see anybody." 

"Thank you, sir." 

"Telephone to the Place. Get Benny. Repeat my 
orders. Say I will do as well by him as I shall by you." 

"Thank you, sir." 

"Take the money. You may have the case also." 

"I thank you, sir." 



THE PALISER CASE 235 

'Tell Peters to fetch me some brandy. The 1810. 
That will do/' 

Presently, when the police did come and, several 
hours later, in the person of Mr. Harvey, came again, 
they came upon the barriers, invisible and unscalable, 
which ignorance, properly paid, can erect. With an 
empty bag, Mr. Harvey made ofif ; not far, however, a 
few squares below to the Athenaeum Club. 

There, the hall-porter succeeded in being magnificent. 
The strange and early visitor he rebuked. It was not 
customary for members to be murdered ! 

A badge, carelessly disclosed, disconcerted him. 
For a second only. However unusual a member might 
be, no information could be supplied concerning him. 
There was another rule, equally strict. Strangers were 
not admitted. Though, whether the rule applied to 
a bull, he was uncertain. Momentarily, the hall-por- 
ter, previously magnificent, became an unhappy man. 
Misery is fertile. A compromise surprised him. 

He crooked a thumb. "Here! Go 'round by the 
back way and ask for Mr. Johnson — ^he's one of the 
captains.'' 

From the steps, in the slanting rays of the morning 
sun, he saw him ofif. But the gaiety of the eager rays 
that charged the air with little gold motes, did not 
cheer him. The lustre of his ofifice was tarnished. A 
member had been murdered! It was most unusual. 

Meanwhile, down the area steps, a hostile and hasty 
youth in shirt-sleeves and a slashed waistcoat barred 
the way. The barring was brief. The badge and a 
smile demolished it. Within, beneath a low ceiling, 
at a long table, other youths, equally slashed but less 
hostile, were at breakfast. 

Afifably, the intruder raised a hand. "Gentlemen, 



236 THE PALISER CASE 

don't let me disturb you. rm just having a look-in 
on Mr. Johnson.'' 

Mr. Johnson did not breakfast with slashed young 
men ; it would have been subversive to discipline, and 
it was negHgently, through a lateral entrance, that 
presently he appeared. In evening clothes on this 
early morning, he surveyed his visitor, a big fellow 
with a slight moustache, an easy way and a missing 
front tooth, who went straight at it. 

"Pleased to meet you, Mr. Johnson. My name's 
Harvey. It's about young Paliser. There may be 
something in it for you. I'm from Headquarters." 

The captain coughed. "It's awful. I can't tell you 
anything though. He wasn't here often. Doubt if 
I've seen him in a week." He looked about. The 
slashed youths were edging up. "Come in here." 

In an adjoining room, he took a chair, waved 
politely at another, coughed again and resumed. "You 
say there may be something in it for me?" 

Mr. Harvey sat down. "Cert. There'll be a re- 
ward — a big one." 

The captain turned it over. "It is as much as my 
place is worth, but last evening one of the members 
was talking fierce about him." 

"Yes, so I heard," said Mr. Harvey, who had heard 
nothing of tlr^ kind and who, not for an instant, had 
expected to tumble on a fierce-talking member. "I 
heard his name too. It's — er " 

"Lennox," the captain put in. 

"Lennox, yes, that's it, and just to see how my ac- 
count tallies with yours, what did he say?" 

"He said he'd do for him. I could have laughed." 

"It was funny, I laughed myself, and about a wo- 
man, wasn't it?" 



THE PALISER CASE 237 

"I don't know. But he was engaged to be married. 
I saw it in the papers." 

"And this young Paliser butted in?'' 

"I couldn't say. But he threw up his business and 
sat around and last night he was going to do for him." 

*'Atthe opera?" 

*'He was talking random-like. He had just had a 
B. and S. I didn't hear anything about the opera. 
He wasn't got up for it. Just a business suit. But, 
Lord bless you, he didn't do it He isn't that kind. 
Nice, free-handed feller." 

"No, of course not. I wouldn't believe it, not if 
you told me so. Let me see. Where did I hear he 
lives?" 

"I don't rightly know. Somewhere in the neigh- 
bourhood." 

"So I thought and his first name is?" 

"I've forgotten. Hold on! Keith! That's it. 
Keith Lennox. Are you going to see him? P'raps 
he can set you straight." 

"P'raps he can." 

"But don't let on about me, my friend." 

"Not on your life," replied his friend, who added: 
"Where's your hat?" 

"My hat 1" Mr. Johnson surprisedly exclaimed. 

Affably that friend of his nodded. "Ever been to 
Headquarters? Well, you're going there now!" 

Then, presently, the captain and his friend ascended 
a stairway, down which, a few; hours later, hoarse 
voices came. 

"Extra! Extra!'' 



XXX 

At the Athenseum, that afternoon, members gath- 
•^ ^ ered together, buttonholed each other, talked it 
over and so importantly that, if you had not known 
better, you might have thought the war a minor event. 
It gave one rather a clear idea of the parochialism 
of clubland. But then, to discuss the affairs of people 
who never heard of you is, essentially, a social act. 

Meanwhile the shouted extras had told of Lennox' 
arrest. The evening papers supplied the evidence. 

In them you read that Lennox had said he would 
''do'' for Paliser, that in his possession had been 
found a stiletto, an opera-check, together with a will, 
and that, when apprehended, he had been effecting 
what is called a getaway. 

There you had the threat, the instrument, the op- 
portunity and what more could you ask, except the 
motive? As for the rest, it was damning. On that 
point foregathering members agreed — with one ex- 
ception. 

In a seated group was Jones. His neighbours 
alarmed him. They belonged, he thought, to a very 
dangerous class, to a class which a sociologist defined 
as the most dangerous of all — ^to the stupid. Accord- 
ing to them, Lennox was not merely guilty, he was 
worse. He had besplattered the club with the blood 
of a man who, hang it all, whether you liked him or 
not, was also a member. The Athenaeum would be- 

238 



THE PALISER CASE 239 

come a byword. Already, no doubt, it was known 
as the Assassin's. Et cetera and so forth. 

The group thinned, increased, thinned again, scat- 
tered. 

Jones, alone with a survivor, addressed him. "How 
is my handsome friend to-day?'' 

Verelst turned impatiently. "'In no mood for jest- 
ing. I ought to have hurried him off. Now he is in 
jail." 

Jones lit a cigarette. '"There are honest men every- 
where, even in jail, perhaps particularly in jail. Whom 
has he, do you know?'' 

"To defend him? Dunwoodie. Ogston told me. 
Ogston says " 

*'I daresay he does. His remarks are always very 
poignant." 

*'But look here. Before the arrest was known, Ogs- 
ton was in this room telling everybody that, last night, 
he gave Lennox a seat in Paliser's box. He will have 
to testify to it. He can't help himself." 

"Perhaps I can help him though. I was with Len- 
nox at the time." 

"You were? That's awkward. You may have to 
corroborate him." 

"I certainly shall. I have the seat." 

"What?" 

"Lennox dropped the ticket. After he had gone, 
I found it on the floor. It is in my shop now." 

"Well, well !" Verelst astoundedly exclaimed. "But, 
here, hold on. The papers say he had a return check." 

Jones flicked his ashes. "I have one or two myself. 
Probably you have. Even otherwise return checks 
tell no tales, or rather no dates." 

"I never thought of that." 

"Think of it now, then." 



240 THE PALISER CASE 

"Yes, but confound it, there is the stiletto." 

"As you say, there it is and I wish it were here. 
It is mine." 

Verelst adjusted his glasses. "What are you talk- 
ing about?" 

"The war," Jones answered. "What else? In my 
shop last evening, Lennox was drawing his will. In 
gathering up the sheets, the knife must have got among 
them and, without knowing it, he carried it off. This 
morning I missed it. The loss affected me profound- 
ly. It is an old friend." 

"You don't tell me." 

"Don't I? rU go so far as to lay you another 
basket of pippins that the police can't produce another 
like it. On the blade is inscribed Penetrabo — which is 
an endearing device." 

"But see here," Verelst excitedly exclaimed. "You 
must tell Dunwoodie. You " In sheer astonish- 
ment he broke off. 

Innocently Jones surveyed him. "You think it im- 
portant as all that?" 

"Important? Important isn't the word." 

With the same air of innocence, Jones nodded. "I 
thought it wasn't the word. I should have said 
trivial." 

"But " 

Wickedly Jones laughed. "If you feel reckless 
enough to go another basket of pippins, I will wager 
that if I tell Dunwoodie anything — and mind the *if' 
— he will agree that the paper-cutter is of no con- 
sequence — except to its lawful owner, who wants it 
back." 

"But tell me " 

"Anything you like. For the moment, though, tell 
me something." 



THE PALISER CASE 241 

"What?" 

Jones blew a ring of smoke. "Do you happen to 
know whether PaHser had anything?" 

"What on earth has that to do with it?" 

Jones blew another ring. "I had an idea that his 
mother might have left him something. You knew 
her, didn't you? Any way, you still know M. P. Did 
he ever say anything about it?" 

"He did not need to. It was in the papers. He 
made over to him the Splendor, the Place, and some 
Wall Street and lower Broadway property that has 
been part of the Paliser estate since the year One." 

"What is it all worth?" Jones asked. "Ten or 
twenty million?" 

"Thirty, I should say. Perhaps more. But what 
has it to do with Lennox?" 

Negligently Jones flicked his ashes. "Well, it 
changes the subject. I can't talk about the same thing 
all the time. It is too fatiguing." 

As he spoke, he stood up. 

Verelst put out a hand. "Dunwoodie is sure to look 
in. Where are you off to?" 

Jones smiled at him. 'T am going to gaze in a 
window where there are pippins on view." 

"Go to the devil!" said Verelst, who also got up. 

Fabulists tell strange tales. It is their business to 
tell them. Jones had no intention of looking at pip- 
pins. What he had in mind was fruit of another 
variety. It was some distance away. Before he could 
make an appreciable move toward it, Verelst, who had 
turned from him, turned back. 

"There!" 

Beyond, through the high-arched entrance, a man 
was limping. He had the battered face of an old bull- 
dog and the rumpled clothes of a young ruffian. 



242 THE PALISER CASE 

^There's Dunwoodie !" 

Verelst, a hand on Jones' elbow, propelled him to- 
ward the lawyer, who gratified them with the look, 
Vrery baleful and equally famous, with which he was 
said to reverse the Bench. 

But Verelst, afraid of nothing except damp sheets, 
stretched a hand. "You know Ten Eyck Jones. He 
has something very important to tell you." 

"Yes,'' said Jones. "In March, on the eighth or 
ninth, I have forgotten which, but it must be in the 
'Law Journal,' a decision was rendered " 

He got no farther. Other members, crowding 
about, were questioning, surmising, eager for a detail, 
a prediction, an obiter dictum, for anything they could 
take away and repeat concerning the murder, in which 
all knew that the great man was to appear. 

But Dunwoodie was making himself heard, and not 
gently either. It was as though already he was at 
the district attorney's throat. 

"Where is the evidence? Where is it? Where is 
the evidence? There is not a shred, not a scintilla. 
On the absence of facts adduced, I shall maintain what 
I assert until the last armed Court of Appeals ex- 
pires. Hum! Ha!" 

Fiercely he turned on Jones. "What were you say- 
ing, sir?" 

Before Jones could reply, Verelst cut in. "The 
stiletto is his. He has the opera-ticket. He " 

"Imbeciles tell each other that great men think 
alike," Jones, interrupting, remarked at Dunwoodie. 
"I merely happened to be forestalling your views, when 
a recent decision occurred to me and " 

Jones' remarks were lost, drowned by others, by 
questions, exclamations, the drivel that amazement 
creates. 



THE PALISER CASE 243 

"But, I say " "Tell me this " "No evi- 
dence!'' "The stiletto hisT' "How did Lennox get 
it?" "Then what about " 

Dunwoodie, fastening on Jones, roared at him. 
"You tell me the instrument is yours?" 

Jones patted his chin. "I did not, but I will/' 

"How do you know, sir?" 

"It has a little love message on it." 

"Hum! Ha!" Dunwoodie barked. "Come to my 
ofl&ce to-morrow. Come before ten." 

Dreamily Jones tilted his hat. "I am not up before 
ten. Where do you live? In the Roaring Forties?" 

But, in the mounting clamour, the answer, if answer 
there were, was submerged. Jones went out to the 
street, entered a taxi, gave an address and sailed away, 
up and across the Park, along the Riverside and into 
the longest thoroughfare — caravan routes excepted — 
on the planet. 

On a corner was a drug-shop, where anything was 
to be had, even to umbrellas and, from a sign that 
hung there, apparently a notary public also. Opposite 
was a saloon, the Ladies Entrance horribly hospitable. 
Jones' trained eye — the eye of a novelist — gathered 
these things which it dropped in that bag which the 
subconscious is. Meanwhile the car, scattering chil- 
dren, tooted, turned and stopped before a leprous 
door. 

In the hall, a girl of twelve, with the face of a 
seraph, and the voice of a fiend, was shrieking at a 
switchboard. Jones fearing, if he addressed her, that 
she might curse him, went on and up, higher, still 
higher, and began to feel quite birdlike. On the 
successive landings were doors and he wondered what 
tragedies, what comedies, what aims, lofty, mean or 
merely diabolic, they concealed. They were all labelled 



244 THE PALISER CASE 

with names, Hun or Hebrew, usually both. But one 
name differed. It caressed. 

There he rang. 

When it opened, a strawberry mouth opened also. 
"Oh !" Cassy's blue eyes were red. There was fright 
in them. 'Tt is horrible! Tell me, do you think it 
was he?" 

Jones removed his hat. **I know it was not." 

That mouth opened again, opened for breath, 
opened with relief. Gasping, she stared. "Thank 

God! I was afraid But are you sure? It was 

I who told him — I thought it my fault. It was killing 
me. Tell me. Are you really sure?" 

Jones motioned. "His lawyer is. I have just 
seen him." 

"He is ! Thank God then ! Thank God ! And my 
father! It has made him ill. He liked him so! I 
am going for medicine now. Will you go in and 
speak to him?" 

She turned and called. "It is Mr. Jones — a friend 
of Mr. Lennox." She turned again. "I will be back 
in a minute." 

Beyond, in the room with the piano and the painted 
warrior, the musician lay on a sofa, bundled in a rug. 
There was not much space on the sofa, yet, as Jones 
entered, he seemed to recede. Then, cavernously, he 
spoke. 

"Forgive me for not rising. This business has 
been too much for me. Sit down." 

Jones put his hat on the table and drew a chair. "I 
am sorry it has upset you. It amounts to nothing." 

Perplexedly the musician repeated it. "Nothing?" 

"I was referring to our friend Lennox." 

"You call his arrest nothing?" 



THE PALISER CASE 245 

*'WelI, everything is relative. It may seem unusual 
to be held without bail and yet, if we all were, it would 
be commonplace/' 

The musician plucked at the rug. "I suppose every- 
body thinks he did it?'' 

^'Everybody, no. I don't think so and I am sure 
your daughter doesn't." 

"I wish she would hurry." 

'^Nor do you." 

''No, I don't think so." 

"I doubt if the police do either." 

"After jailing him !" 

Jones, who had been taking in the room, the piano, 
the portrait, the table, sketched a gesture. 

"We are all in jail. The opinion of the world is a 
prison, our own ideas are another. We are doubly 
jailed, and very justly. We are depraved animals. 
We think, or think we think, and what we think others 
have thought for us and, as a rule, erroneously." 

From a phonograph somewhere, in some adjacent 
den, there floated a tenor aria, the Bella figlia del 
amore, pierced suddenly and beautifully by a contral- 
to's rich voice. 

Jones turned. "That's Caruso. I don't know who 
the Maddelena is. Do you remember Campanini ?" 

"Yes, I remember him. He was a better actor than 
Caruso." 

"And so ugly that he was good-looking. Caruso is 
becoming uneven." 

Vaguely the musician considered the novelist. "You 
think so?" 

"It rather looked that way last night." 

Angelo Cara plucked again at the rug. 

"But," Jones continued, "in the 'Terra addio' he 
made up for it. What an enchantment that duo is!" 



246 THE PALISER CASE 

The musician's hand moved from the rug to his 
face. *'You were there then?" 

I was this morning, thought Jones, but he said: 
**How sinful Rigoletto is by comparison to Aida — ^by 
comparison I mean to the last act." 

The other duo now had become a quartette. The 
voices of Gilda and Rigoletto were fusing with those 
of the figlia and the duke. 

The musician appeared to be listening. His sunken 
eyes were lifted. Slowly he turned them on Jones. 

"You didn't see anything, did you?" 

"Last night? I did not see Lennox, if that is what 
you mean, or Paliser — except for a moment, during 
the crypt scene." 

Chokingly the musician drew breath. In the effort 
he gasped. "Then you know." 

"Yes, I know." 

The rug rose and fell. It was as though there were 
a wave beneath it. 

With an air of detachment, Jones added: "Paliser 
turned to see who was there. A sword-cane told him." 

The musician's lips twitched, his face had con- 
tracted, his hand now was on his breast. "I wish 
Cassy would hurry. She's gone for amyl." 

"Is it far?" 

"The corner. Are you going to do anything?" 

Jones shook his head. "I don't need to." 

The sunken eyes were upon him. "Why do you 
say that?" 

"You are an honest man." 

The sunken eyes wavered. "At least I never sup- 
posed they would arrest Lennox. How could I?" 

"No one could have supposed it. Besides, in your 
own conscience you were justified, were you not?" 

"You know about that, too?" 



THE PALISER CASE 247 

"Yes, I know about that/' 

The Rigoletto disc now had been replaced by an- 
other, one from which a voice brayed, a voice nasal, 
iocular, felonious. 

'That beast ought to be shot," Jones added. 

The musician raised himself a Httle. "You don't 
misjudge her, do you?" 

Jones, annoyed at the swill tossed about, had turned 
from him. He turned back. "Believe me, Mr. Cara, 
there is no one for whom I have a higher respect." 

A spasm seized the musician. For a moment, save 
for the effort at breath, he was silent. Then feebly he 
said : *'I wish she would hurry." 

''Can I do anything?" 

"Yes, tell me. Do you condemn me?" 

The novelist hesitated. "There are no human 
scales for any soul. Though, to be sure " 

"What?" 

"It might have been avoided. As it is, they will 
suspect her." 

"Cassy?" 

"Naturally. They can't hold Lennox on a paper- 
cutter — that belongs to me, and a few empty words 
said in my presence and which, if necessary, I did 
not hear. They can't hold him on that. But when 
they learn, as they will, the circumstances of your 
daughter's misadventure, they will arrest her." 

"Merciful God!" 

The jeopardy to her, a jeopardy previously undis- 
cerned, but which then shaken at him, instantly took 
shape, twisted his mouth into the appalling grimace 
that mediaeval art gave to the damned. 

"And you don't want that," Jones remotely re- 
sumed. 

"Want it !" Galvanised by the shock, the musician 



248 THE PALISER CASE 

sat suddenly up. "Last night, after I got back, I 
slept like a log. This morning, I felt if I had not 
done it, I would still have it to do and that satisfied 
me. But afterwards, when I learned about Lennox, 
it threw me here. Now My God !" 

He fell back. 

The poor devil is done for, thought Jones, who, 
wondering whether he could get it over in time, leaned 
forward. 

"Mr. Cara, don't you think you had best make it 
plain sailing for everybody, and let me draw up a 
declaration ?'' 

The disc now had run out. The grunt of the beast 
was stilled. From beyond came the quick click of a 
key. Almost at once Cassy appeared. 

She hurried to her father. "There were people 
ahead of me. They took forever. Has Mr. Jones 
told you? Mr. Lennox did not do it.'' 

Breaking a tube in a handkerchief, she was ad- 
ministering the amyl and Jones wondered whether she 
could then suspect. But her face was turned from 
him, he could not read it, and realising that, in any 
event, she must be spared the next act, he cast about 
for an excuse to get her away. At once, remembering 
the notary, he produced him. 

"Your father wants me to draw a paper on which 
his signature should be attested. If I am not asking 
too much, would you mind going back to the druggist 
for the notary whose sign I saw there?" 

Cassy turned from her father. "A paper? What 
paper?" 

Bravely Jones lied. "A will." 

Cassy looked from one to the other. "The poor 
dear often has these attacks. He will be better soon 
— now that he knows. Won't you, daddy?" 



THE PALISER CASE 249 

Angelo Cara's eyes had in them an expression in- 
finitely tender, equally vacant. It was as though, in 
thinking of her, he was thinking too of something else. 
Though, as Jones afterward decided, he probably was 
not thinking at all. 

Cassy exclaimed at him. "Besides, what have you 
— except me?'' 

"Everybody has to make a will," Jones, lying again, 
put in. "There has been a new law passed. The 
eternal revenue collector requires it." 

Cassy smoothed the rug, put the handkerchief on 
the table, opened a drawer, got out some paper, a pen, 
a bottle of ink. 

In a moment she had gone. 

Jones seated himself at the table. "Forgive me 
for asking, but may I assume that you believe in God, 
a life hereafter and in the rewards and punishments 
which, we are told, await us?" 

The musician closed his eyes. 

"Thank you," said Jones, who began to write : 

I, Angelo Cara, being in full possession of my senses 
and conscious of the immanence of death, do solemnly 
swear to the truth of this my dying declaration, which, 
I also solemnly swear, is made by me without any col- 
lusion with Keith Lennox. First; I firmly believe in 
God, in a life hereafter, and in future rewards and pun- 
ishments. Second; I alone am guilty of the murder of 
Montagu Paliser, jr., whom I killed without aid or ac- 
complices and without the privity or knowledge of any 
other person. 

Jones, wishing that in his law-school days he had 
crammed less and studied more, looked up. 

"I cannot compliment you on your pen, Mr. Cara. 
But then, pen and ink always seem so emphatic. Per- 



250 THE PALISER CASE 

sonally, I prefer a pencil. Writing with a pencil is 
like talking in a whisper." 

It was in an effort to deodorise the atmosphere, 
charged with the ghastly, that he said it. The declar- 
ant did not appear to notice. His sunken eyes had 
been closed. Widely they opened. 

'^The other side!'' 

Jones blotted the declaration. "The other side can- 
not be very different from this side. Not that part of 
it at least which people, such as you and I, first visit. 
A bit farther on, I suppose we prepare for our return 
here. For that matter, it will be very careless of us, 
if we don't. We relive and redie and redie and relive, 
endlessly, ad infinitum. The Church does not put it in 
just that manner, but the allegory of the resurrection 
of the body and the life everlasting amounts, perhaps, 
to the same thing. 'Never the spirit was born, the 
spirit shall cease to be never.' That is the way Edwin 
Arnold expressed it, after the 'Gita' had expressed it 
for him. But probably you have not frequented the 
'Gita,' Mr. Cara. It is an exceedingly " 

"Cassy's lace dress is all torn. It was so pretty." 

He is in the astral now, thought Jones, who said: 
"She will have a much prettier one." 

But now again from the hall came that quick click 
and Gassy appeared, a little fat man behind her. 

Jones stood up. ''How do do. You know Mr. 
Cara. Mr. Cara wants his signature attested." 

The little man exhibited his gold teeth. "With a 
will that is not the way. I told this young lady so 
but she would have it that I come along." 

The young lady, who was taking her hat off, left 
the room. 

Jones fished in a pocket. "It is very good of you. 



THE PALISER CASE 251 

Here, if you please, is your fee. The document is not 
a will, it is a release." 

As the novelist spoke, he put the pen in the musi- 
cian's hand and, finding it necessary, or thinking that it 
was, for, as he afterward realised, it was not, he 
guided it. 

"You acknowledge this '' the notary began. But 

at the moment Cassy returned and, it may be, dis- 
tracted by her, he mumbled the rest, took the reply 
for granted, applied the stamp, exhibited his teeth. 
Then, at once, the hall had him. 

Cassy turned to Jones. Her face disclosed as many 
emotions as an opal has colours. Relief, longing, un- 
certainty, and distress were there, ringed in beauty. 

"Miss Austen ought to know how she has misjudged 
him. Do you suppose she would let me see her?" 

Bully for you ! thought Jones, who said : "I cannot 
imagine any one refusing you anything." 

In speaking, he heard something. Cassy turned. 
She too had heard it. But what? 

With a cry she ran to the sofa. "Daddy!" 

His face was grey, the grey that dawn has, the grey 
than which there is nothing greyer and yet in which 
there is light. That light was there. His upper-lip 
was just a little raised. It was as though he had seen 
something that pleased him and of which he was about 
to tell. 

"Daddy!" 

Jones followed her. He drew down the rug and 
bent over. After a moment, he drew the rug up, well 
up, and, with a forefinger, saluted. 

Cassy, tearing the covering back, flung herself 
there. Jones could not see her tears. He heard them. 
Her slim body shook. 



XXXI 

ON leaving the walk-up Jones discovered a restau- 
rant that he judged convenient and vile. But the 
convenience appealed, and the villainy of the place did 
not extend to the telephone-book, which was the first 
thing he ordered. 

While waiting for it, it occurred to him that in a 
novel the death he had witnessed would seem very 
pat. Why is life so artificial? he wonderingly asked. 

The query suggested another. It concerned not the 
decedent but his daughter. 

By the Lord Harry, he told himself, her linen shall 
not be washed in public if I can prevent it, and what is 
the use in being a novelist if you can't invent? 

But now the book was before him. In it he found 
that Dunwoodie resided near Columbia University. 
It was ages since he had ventured in that neighbour- 
hood, which, when finally he got there, gave him the 
agreeable sensation of being in a city other than New 
York. 

Hie Labor, Haec Quies, he saw written on the 
statue of a tall maiden, and though, in New York, 
quiet is to be had only in the infrequent cemeteries, 
deep down, yet with the rest of the inscription he had 
been engaged all day. 

Gravely saluting the maiden, who was but partly 
false, he passed on to an apartment-house and to 
Dunwoodie's door, which was opened by Dunwoodie 

252 



THE PALISER CASE 253 

himself. In sliooers and a tattered gown, he was 
Hogarthian. 

"I thought it a messenger!'' he bitterly exclaimed. 

Jones smiled at him. ''When a man of your emi- 
nence is not wrong, he is invariably right. I am a 
messenger.'' 

In the voice of an ogre, Dunwoodie took it up. 
*'What is the message, sir?" 

Jones pointed at the ceiling. Involuntarily, Dun- 
woodie looked up and then angrily at the novelist. 

''An order of release," the latter announced. 

Dunwoodie glared. "I suppose, sir, I must let you 
in, but allow me to tell you " 

Urbanely Jones gestured. "Pray do not ask my 
permission, it is a privilege to listen to anything you 
may say." 

Dunwoodie turned. Through a winding hall he led 
the way to a room in which a lane went from the 
threshold to a table. The lane was bordered with an 
underbush of newspapers, pamphlets, magazines. Be- 
hind the underbush was a forest of books. Beside the 
table were an armchair and a stool. From above, hung 
a light. Otherwise, save for cobwebs, the room was 
bare and very relaxing. 

Dunwoodie taking the chair, indicated the stool. 
"Now, sir!" 

Jones gave him the declaration. 

With not more than a glance Dunwoodie possessed 
himself of the contents. He put it down. 

"If I had not known you had studied law, not for a 
moment would that rigamarole lead me to suspect it." 

In a protest which was quite futile, Jones raised a 
hand. "The notary is unnecessary, I know that. I 



254 THE PALISER CASE 

know also that a dying declaration is not the best 
evidence, but " 

"Do you at least know that the declarant is dead?'' 

Jones, who favoured the dramatic, nodded. "He 
died in my arms." 

Dunwoodie took it in and took it out. '*It is curious 
how crime leads to bad taste.'' 

Jones leaned forward. "I may tell you for your 
information " 

"Spare me, I am overburdened with information as 
it is." 

Jones sat back. He had no intention of taking 
Dunwoodie then behind the scenes. That would come 
later. But he did want to try out an invention that 
had occurred to him. He sighed. 

"Don't you care to hear why he did it?" 

"Not in the least." 

'^But " 

Dunwoodie fumbled in a pocket. "The district 
attorney may be more receptive. I shall go to him 
in the morning and I will thank you to go with me." 

"I am not up in the morning." 

"Then don't go to bed." 

From the pocket, Dunwoodie extracted an enormous 
handkerchief. It fascinated Jones. He had never 
seen one that resembled it. 

"You dispose of me admirably. The district at- 
torney, I suppose, will enter a nolle prosequi." 

In that handkerchief, Dunwoodie snorted. "You 
may suppose what you like." 

Jones laughed. "It is my business to suppose. I 
suppose, when the murder was committed, that Len- 
nox was at home. If I am right, he has an alibi 
:which his servant can confirm." 



THE PALISER CASE 255 

Dunwoodie stared. "Whatever your business may 
be, it is not to teach me mine." 

Jones drew out a cigarette-case. 'Tet me sit at 
your feet then. What does Lennox say ?" 

'*How inquisitive you are! But to be rid of you, 
he " 

"May I smoke ?'' Jones interrupted. 

"Good God, sir ! You are not preparing to make a 
night of it?" 

"I have one or two other little matters in hand. But 
since I may suppose all I like, I take it that Lennox in- 
tended to go to the opera, though I fancy also that he 
had no intention of going to Paliser's box. I suppose 
that he intended to wait about and go for him hot and 
heavy when he came out. I suppose also that, while 
dressing, he changed his mind. And, by the way, 
isn't there such a writ as a mandamus, or a duces 
tecum? I would like my paper-cutter returned." 

"Confound your paper-cutter! You don't deserve 
to have me admit it, but Lennox' account of it is that 
before going on to the opera, he stopped to write a 
letter to Miss— er— Hum ! Ha !" 

"Miss Austen?" 

"And when he got through it was midnight." 

"I'll lay a pippin he didn't send it." 

"What, sir?" 

"Lennox had a lot to say. It was gagging him. 
He would have suffocated if he had kept it in. The 
effect of getting it on black and white was an emetic. 
He read it over, judged it inadequate, tore it up. I 
have done the same thing. I daresay you have." 

The great man sat back. "His scrap-basket has been 
visited. The letter was there." 



256 THE PALISER CASE 

''Well, then, I suppose the short and long of it is, you 
will have him out to-morrow." 

"As I said, you may suppose all you like." 

"Without indiscretion then, may I suppose that you 
live here alone?" 

Dunwoodie flourished his handkerchief. It Hvas 
cotton and big as a towel 

"I am not as young as you are, sir, and whether 
erroneously or not, I believe myself better informed." 

"Ah!" Jones put in. "Your physiognomy cor- 
roborates you. I have sometimes thought that it were 
difficult for the Seven Sages to be as wise as you look 
— which is the reason, perhaps, why I do not quite 
follow you." 

"I did not imagine that you would. You are a soci- 
able being. Every imbecile is pitiably sociable. But 
for a thinking man, a man without vices and without 
virtues, what is there except solitude?" 

Appreciatively Jones motioned. "Thank you for 
descending to my level. As it happens, I also have a 
cloister where I have the double advantage of being 
by myself and of not being with others. But now 
that I am in your hermitage, there is this Matter of 
Ziegler, concerning which I would like the benefit of 
your professional advice." 

"Hum! Ha! Got yourself mixed up with a wo- 
man and want me to pull you out. Well, sir, you will 
find it expensive. But a hermitage is not an office. I 
shall expect you at mine to-morrow. I shall expect 
you before ten." 

Dunwoodie stood up. "To-morrow, though, your 
turpitudes will have to wait. Have you been served ?" 

Jones laughed. "Not yet." 

"Time enough then. You can find the door?" 



THE PALISER CASE 257 

Through the lane, bordered by rubbish, and on 
through the winding hall, Jones went out. As Dun- 
woodie had said, there was time enough. There had 
been no service — no summons, no complaint. It might 
be that there would be none. The matter might ad- 
just itself without any. It might be that there was 
no ground for action. Jones could not tell. After 
the manner of those who have crammed for a law 
examination, there had been a moment when he knew, 
or thought he knew, it all. But also after the man- 
ner of those who have not taken the post-graduate 
course which practice is, the crammed knowledge had 
gone. Only remnants and misfits remained. It was 
on these that he had conjectured the suit which, mean- 
while, constituted a nut to crack. There was time and 
to spare though. Besides, for the moment, he had 
other things to do. 

Then, as he went on to attend to them, he wondered 
why Dunwoodie, who, he thought, must make a hun- 
dred thousand a year, lived like a ragpicker. 

Before him, the starshell, which imagination pro- 
jects, burst suddenly. 

He said he had no virtues and probably told the 
truth, Jones decided. In which case he cannot be a 
miser. But he also said he had no vices and probably 
lied like a thief. The old scoundrel is a philanthropist. 
I would wager an orchard of pippins on that, but 
there is no one to take me up — except this policeman. 

''Officer,'' he resumed aloud. ''Behold a stranger 
in a strange land. By any miracle, is there a taxi- 
stand nearby?" 

Then presently Jones was directing a driver. 

"The Tombs!" 



XXXII 

IN a dirty cell Lennox sat on a dirty cot. Through 
a door, dirty too, but barred, came a shuffle of feet, 
the sound of the caged at bay and that odour, perhaps 
unique, which prisons share, the smell of dry-rot, per- 
spiration, disinfectants and poisoned teeth. In ad- 
dition to the odour there was light, not much, but some. 
Nearby was a sink. Altogether it was a very nice cell, 
fit for the Kaiser. Lennox took no pleasure in it. 
Rage enveloped him. The rage was caused not by 
the cell but by his opinion of it. That was only 
human. 

Events in themselves are empty. It is we who fill 
them. They become important or negligible, according 
to the point of view. We give them the colours, 
violent, agreeable, or merely neutral, that they obtain. 
It is the point of view that fills and affects them. The 
point of view can turn three walls and a door into a 
madhouse. It can convert them into an ivory tower. 
To Lennox they were merely revolting. 

That morning he had laughed. His arrest amused 
him. He laughed at it, laughed at the police. They 
took no offence. Instead they took the cigars that he 
offered and a few accessories which they grabbed. It 
is a way the police have. Still Lennox laughed. He 
knew of course that at Headquarters he would be at 
once released, the entire incident properly regretted. 
When he found himself not only elaborately wrong 

258 



THE PALISER CASE 259 

but in court, laughter ceased. Anger replaced it. He 
had been first amused, then surprised, afterwards ex- 
asperated, emotions that finally addled into rage, not 
at others but at himself, which was rather decent. In 
any of the defeats of life, the simple blame others; 
the wise blame themselves ; the evolved blame nobody. 
Lennox had not reached that high plane then but in 
directing his anger at himself he showed the ad- 
vantages of civilisation which the war has put in such 
admirable relief. 

Now, on that cot, in that cell, ragingly he retraced 
his steps. He saw himself loving Margaret Austen as 
though he were to love her forever. A hero can do no 
more. He saw her loving him with a love so light 
that a breath had blown it away. A nymph in the 
brake could do no worse. Yet whether on her part it 
were perversity or mere shallowness, the result was the 
same. It had landed him in jail. For that he ac- 
quitted her completely. What he could not forgive 
was his own stupidity in persisting in loving her after 
she had turned away. 

The night before, while, at the opera, the Terra 
Addio was being sung, he had been writing her one 
of the endless letters that only those vomiting in an 
attack of indignation morbus ever produce. In the 
relief of getting it in black and white, the nausea 
abated. Then judging it all very idle, he tore the 
letter in two. It was a gesture made before relapsing 
into a silence which he had intended should be eternal. 
At the very moment when Paliser was being run 
through the gizzards, he, turning a page of life, had 
scrawled on it Hie jacet. 

Now, on that cot, Paliser recurring, he thought of 
him with so little animosity that he judged his spec- 



26o THE PALISER CASE 

tacular death inadequate. But who, he wondered, had 
staged it? Not Cassy. Cassy took things with too 
high a hand and reasonably perhaps, since she took 
them from where her temperament had placed her. 
Then, without further effort at the riddle, his thoughts 
drifted back to that afternoon when, from his rooms, 
the sunlight had followed her out like a dog. 

He had been looking at the floor, but without seeing 
it. Then at once, without seeing it either, he saw 
something else, something which for a long time must 
have been there, something that had been acting on 
him and in him without his knowledge. It was the 
key to another prison, the key to the prison that life 
often is and which, in the great defeats, every man 
who is a man finds at his feet and usually without 
looking for it either. 

"But I love her !" he suddenly exclaimed. 

There is a magic in those words. No sooner were 
they uttered than his mind became a rendezvous of 
apparitions. He saw Cassy as he had seen her first, as 
he had seen her last, as he had seen her through all the 
changes and mutations of their acquaintance, saw her 
eyes lifted to his, saw her face turned from him. 

The crystallisation which, operating in the myriad 
cells of the brain, creates our tastes, our temptations, 
our desires ; creates them unknown to us, creates them 
even against our will, and which without his will or 
knowledge, had, like a chemical precipitate, been acting 
on him, then was complete. 

"I love her!'' he repeated. 

The dirty cot, the dirty cell, the dirty floor, a point 
of view was transforming. At the moment they 
ceased to be revolting. Then immediately another 
view restored their charm. 



THE PALISER CASE 261 

"She won't have me!" 

The dirty cell reshaped itself and he thought of life, 
a blind fate treacherous always. 

"Good Lord, how I envy you!" 

Lennox turned. Wriggling through the bars a hand 
which a keeper checked, stood Jones. 

**When Cervantes enjoyed the advantages that you 
possess, the walls parted and through them cavalcaded 
the strumpet whose name is Fame. In circumstances 
equally inspiring Bunyan entertained that hussy. Ver- 
laine too. From a dungeon she lifted him to Par- 
nassus, lifted him to the top. If I only had their luck 
— and yours ! It is too good for you. You don't ap- 
preciate it. Besides you will be out to-morrow." 

"I ought not to be here at all," Lennox indignantly 
retorted. 

''No, you are most undeserving. Mais ecoute. 
Oest le pere de la petite qui a fait le coup. II me Ta 
avoue, ensuite il a claque et depuis j'ai vu ton avocat. 
C'est une brute mais " 

''Can that," put in the keeper, a huge creature with a 
cauliflower face, dingy and gnarled. "You guys got 
to cough English." 

Ingratiatingly Jones turned to him. "I mistook you 
for a distinguished foreigner. Dear me, my life is 
too full of pleasure!" , 

He turned to Lennox. "That's it. You are here 
to-day and gone to-morrow. Now that I have envied 
you insufficiently I'll go too. While I am about it 
I'll go to Park Avenue. Any message?" 

"None." 

"Make it briefer. Besides, look here. I'll wager a 
wilderness of pippins that Park Avenue was not and 
never thought of being engaged to what's his name. 



262 THE PALISER CASE 

I'll wager because it is not in the picture. Do you hear 
me?" 

*'I hear you.'' 

''You are v^ry gifted. Nothing wrong with your 
tongue, though, is there?" 

^'Nothing whatever." 

''Behold then the messenger awaiting the message." 

"Very good. Tm through. Absolutely, completely, 
entirely. If you must be a busybody say that. I'm 
through." 

But that was not Jones' idea of the game and he out 
with it. "I'll do nothing of the kind." 

"Won't you?" Lennox retorted. He had remained 
seated. But rising then, he looked at the keeper, mo- 
tioned at Jones. 

"If that man asks for me again, say I'm out." 

Jones laughed. "Wow-wow, old cock! I wish I 
could have said that but I probably shall. Meanwhile 
book this : Dinner to-morrow, Athenseum at eight. 
By-bye. Remember Cervantes. Don't forget Ver- 
laine. Sweet dreams." 

Lennox sat down, looked at the key, tried to turn 
it. That door too was barred. 



XXXIII 

^TpHE offices of Dunwoodie, Bramwell, Straw- 
•^ bridge and Cohen were supplied with a rotunda 
in which Jones sat waiting, and Jones loved to sit and 
wait. 

Since the musician's tenement had crumbled and the 
soul of the violinist had gone forth, gone to the unseen 
assessors who pityingly, with indulgent hands, weigh 
our stupid sins, since then a week had passed. Dur- 
ing it, a paper signed by the dead had been admitted 
by the living, a prisoner had been discharged and for 
no other imaginable reason than because he had killed 
nobody, Lennox became a hero. 

New York is very forgetful. Lennox sank back 
into the blank anonymity to which humanity in the ag- 
gregate is eternally condemned and from which, at a 
bound, he had leaped. The papers were to tell of 
him again, but casually, without scareheads, among 
the yesterdays and aviators in France. That though 
was later. 

Meanwhile an enigma remained. Very heroically a 
young man had done nothing. Hurrah and good-bye ! 
The calciums of curiosity turned on an obscure fiddler 
who, after murdering another young man, had suc- 
ceeded in bilking the chair. 

But why had he killed him ? That was the enigma, 
one which would have been exciting, if the solution 
had not been so prompt and so tame. At the proceed- 

263 



264 THE PALISER CASE 

ings which resulted in Lennox' discharge, it was testi- 
fied that Angelo Cara had been temporarily deranged. 

The testimony, expertly advanced by a novelist who 
was not an expert, the reporters grabbed before the 
court could rule it out. The grabbing was natural. 
The decedent's declaration had been made to Jones 
who, though not an alienist, was the teller of tales that 
have been translated into every polite language, in- 
cluding the Japanese, which is the politest of all. 
Moreover, have not the mendacious been properly sub- 
divided into liars, damned liars and expert witnesses? 
To Verdun with the lot! Mr. Ten Eyck Jones was 
certainly not an expert, but certainly too he was some- 
body, he was a best-seller and in the way we live now, 
the testimony of the best-seller is entitled to every 
editorial respect. The court might rule his testimony 
out, city editors saluted it. 

Jones' little invention did wash therefore and, in 
the washing, poured balm by the bucket over the father 
of the murdered man. 

Then, gradually, like everything else, except war and 
the taxes, both murderer and murdered were dropped 
in the great dustbin of oblivion that awaits us all. 

In the rotunda, meanwhile, Jones sat kicking his 
heels. It was in the morning, and always in the morn- 
ing Jones was invisibly at work. Now, his routine 
upset, loathingly he kicked his heels. But Jones had 
ways of consoling himself that were very common- 
place. 

I am doing all the evil I can, he vindictively re- 
flected, and it was with the comfort of his animosity 
about him that, ultimately, he was shown into an 
office — bright and, on this May forenoon, very airy— 
that gave on Broad Street. 



THE PALISER CASE 265 

Dunwoodie, twisting in a chair, glared at him. 

"Ecce iterum Crispinus!" Jones tritely began. 
"What price retainers to-day ?'' 

*'I hoped to God I had seen the last of you," Dun- 
woodie, with elaborate, old-fashioned courtesy, re- 
plied. 

Jones, disdaining to be asked, drew a chair. 

Viciously Dunwoodie eyed him. ''What the devil 
do you want?" 

Jones smiled at him. ''That decision." 

"What decision, sir?" 

"The one I cited when I brought you the paper that 
secured Lennox' discharge." 

"Damme, sir, nothing of the kind. I would have 
had him discharged any way." 

Jones' smile broadened. "You seem capable of any- 
thing. It is a great quality. Believe me, if I thought 
you lacked it, you would not now be enjoying my 
society." 

"You flatter yourself strangely, sir. If you have 
nothing to say, don't keep on saying it." 

"On the contrary, I am here to listen to you," Jones 
agreeably put in. "I want your views on that case, 
'The Matter of Ziegler.' " 

"Hum! Ha! Got yourself in a mess. Yaas. I 
remember. Been served yet? Give me the facts." 

One after another, Jones produced them. 

During their recital, Dunwoodie twirled his thumbs. 
At their conclusion, he expressed himself with entire 
freedom. After which, he saw Jones to the door, an 
act which he performed only when he felt particularly 
uncivil. At the moment the old bulldog's lip was 
lifted. But not at Jones. 

Broad Street was very bright that day. Its bril- 



266 THE PALISER CASE 

liance did not extend to the market. Values were 
departing. The slump was on. Speculators, invest- 
ors, the long and the shorts, bank-messengers, broker's- 
clerks, jostled Jones, who went around the corner, 
where a cavern gaped and swallowed him. 

Crashingly the express carried him uptown. He 
did not know but that he might have lingered. There 
is always room at the top, though perhaps it is unwise 
to buy there. At the bottom, there is room too, much 
more. It is very gloomy, but it is the one safe place. 
Jones did not think that the market had got there yet. 
None the less it was inviting. On the other hand, he 
did think he might eat something. There was a res- 
taurant that he wot of where, the week before, he had 
had a horrible bite. The restaurant was nauseating, 
but convenient. To that dual attraction he succumbed. 

At table there, he meditated on the inscrutable pos- 
sibilities of life which, he decided, is full of changes, 
particularly in the subway; whereupon a tale in Per- 
rault's best manner occurred to him. 

A waiter, loutish and yet infinitely dreary, inter- 
vened. Jones paid and went out on the upper reaches 
of Broadway. The fairy-tale that he had evoked ac- 
companied him. It was charm ful as only a fairy- 
tale can be. But the end, while happy, was hazy. He 
did not at all know whether it would do. 

Abruptly he awoke. 

''Will you come in ?" Cassy was saying. 

She had her every-day manner, her every-day 
clothes, her usual hat. Jones, noting these details, in- 
wardly commended them. But at once, another detail 
was apparent. The entrance to the room where the 
Bella figlia had been succeeded by a dirge, was blocked. 
There was a table in it. 



THE PALISER CASE 267 

Cassy motioned. "I was trying to get it out when 
it got itself wedged there. Will you crawl under it, 
as I have to, or would you prefer to use it as a divan ?'' 

**Where your ladyship crawleth, I will crawl,'' Jones 
gravely replied. *'I just love going on all fours." 

As he spoke he went under. With a sad little smile 
she followed. 

"I know I ought to be in mourning,'' she told him 
as he brushed his knees. 

She hesitated and sat down. She did not say that 
she lacked the money to buy the suits and trappings. 
She did not want to say that she had sold the table, 
which was the last relic of her early home, nor yet 
that she had been trying to get it out, in order to pre- 
vent the Jew purchaser from again coming in. In- 
stead, she fingered her smock. 

"I have been looking for an engagement and they 
don't want you in black." 

Jones took a chair. "War has made mourning 
an anachronism in Europe. If it lasts long enough, 
it will do the same here and do the same with art. 
But you are very brave." He looked about. "I un- 
derstood your father had a Cremona." 

**The poor dear thought so, but a dealer to whom 
I took it said it was a Tyrolean copy." 

Jones put down his hat. "The brutes always say 
something of the kind. What did it look like?" 

Cassy glanced at him. "A flute, of course. What 
else would a violin look like?" 

"You are quite right. I meant the colour." 

"Oh, the colour! Madeira with a sheen in it." 

"Yes!" Jones exclaimed. "That is the exact and 
precise description of the Amati varnish, of which 



268 THE PALISER CASE 

the secret is lost. I hope you did not let the brute 
have it." 

Cassy did not want to tell him that either. But 
when you are very forlorn it is hard to keep every- 
thing in. 

''I needed a little for the funeral and he gave it to 
me. 

"And it was worth thousands ! Have you found an 
engagement ?" 

"The season is ending. Then too, either I have 
lost confidence or I am not up to it, not yet at least.'' 

"I can understand that." 

Cassy gestured. "It is not this empty room, it is 
the doors that slam. We know we should hasten to 
love those whom we do love, lest they leave us forever 
before we have loved them enough. But do we ? We 
think we have time and to spare. I know I thought so. 
I was careless, forgetful, selfish. That is one of the 
doors. I can't close it." 

"Time will." 

"Perhaps. Meanwhile I am told I should change 
my name. At first, I felt very bitterly toward you for 
what you did here. It seemed inhuman of you. Since 
then I have realised that you could not have done 
otherwise. It saved Mr. Lennox. I would have done 
that." 

"I am sure of it." 

"But I won't change my name. I won't put such an 
affront on the poor dear who thought — yet there ! I 
shall never know what he thought, but who, however 
wrongly, did it because of me. If only I had not told 
him! I ought never to have said a word. Never! 
That door slams the loudest. It wakes me. It is 
slamming all the time." 



THE PALISER CASE 269 

'That too shall pass/' 

Cassy doubted it. The door and the noise of it 
hurt. Her eyes filled. Yet, too sensitive to weep at 
anybody, even at an inkbeast, she stood up, went to 
the window and, while reabsorbing her tears, looked, 
or affected to look, at a lean stripe of blue sky. 

Meditatively Jones considered her. *Tine day for 
a walk.'' 

It was as though he had offered her a handkerchief. 
Tearful no longer, but annoyed, she turned and sat 
down. 

"You seem very original." 

'It is absentmindedness, I think. I meant to ask, 
are you ever down near the Stock Exchange?" 

'That is where Mr. Lennox goes, isn't it?" 

'There are others that frequent the neighbourhood. 
Among them is a deacon named Dunwoodie." 

"Isn't he the lawyer who acted for Mr. Lennox?" 

"Now you mention it, I believe he is. Anyway, I 
wonder if you would care to have him act for you?" 

Cassy crossed her hands. "I don't understand you." 

"For a moment or two, he didn't either. Then he 
said he would like to see you. That was an hour 
ago. I have just come from his office." 

"But what in the world does he want of me? 
Everything is over now, isn't it? Or are there more 
doors? Really, if there are, I don't think I can stand 
it. I don't think I can, Mr. Jones." 

"Yes, but there are doors that don't slam, doors that 
are closed and locked and barred. Sometimes there is 
romance behind them, sometimes there are santal- 
wood boxes crammed with rubies ; sometimes there are 
secrets, sometimes there are landscapes of beckoning 
palms. One never quite knows what there is behind 



270 THE PALISER CASE 

closed doors. He may open one or two for you. 
Wouldn't it interest you to let him try?'' 

Cassy's eyelids had been a trifle tremulous, in her 
under-lip there had been also a little uncertainty. But 
at the vistas which the novelist dangled at her, she 
succeeded in looking, as she could look, immeasurably 
remote. 

'That sort of thing is chorus-girl !" 

Blankly Jones stared. *'What sort of thing?" 

*'Why, you want me to bring an action. I will do 
nothing of the kind. Even if he were living, I would 
rather be dead. Besides, it was all my fault. I ought 
to have known better." 

"Better than what?" enquired the novelist, who now 
had got his bearings. 

"Mr. Jones, I told you all about it." 

"Forgive me, if I seem to contradict you. You did 
not tell all." 

Cassy stiffened. 

"How could you?" Jones continued. "Details are 
so tiresome. To-day when I was talking to Dun- 
woodie, I advanced a few. Dunwoodie is a very 
ordinary person. Details bore you, they bore me. He 
dotes on them. By the way, you said something about 
changing your name. I wish you would. Couldn't 
you take mine?" 

"You are ridiculous." 

"As you like. Any one else would call me merce- 
nary." 

He's crazy, Cassy uncomfortably reflected. What 
shall I do? 

Modestly the novelist motioned, 'Ten Eyck Jones 
now! It doesn't rhyme with Victor Hugo or even 



THE PALISER CASE 271 

with Andrew Carnegie, but it has a Hit. It might be 
worse." 

''What are you talking about?'' Cassy, with increas- 
ing discomfort, put in. 

"There is a little thing that turns men into flint and 
women into putty. That's what I am talking about. 
I am talking money." 

"Thank you. The subject does not interest me." 

"Ah, but you are evolved ! Would that the butcher 
were! We all have to consider his incapacities and 
money helps us. I have an idea that your dear de- 
parted may have left you a trifle." 

"Really, Mr. Jones, you are talking nonsense." 

"It is a specialty of mine." 

"Besides, it is impossible." 

"Impossible is a word that intelligent young women 
never employ." 

"Very good. Admitting the possibility, I won't take 
it" 

"It might be paid into your bank." 

"I haven't any bank." 

"One could be found for you." 

"I would tell them not to accept it." 

"The bank that won't accept money does not exist." 

Cassy flushed. "I rather liked you. Couldn't you 
be less hateful?" 

"You are trying to pick a quarrel with me." 

"Nothing of the kind." 

"Then will you let me take you to Dunwoodie?" 

"Certainly not." 

"Then will you go alone?" 

"But why ? Why should I ? What does this man 
with an absurd name want of me?" 

Jones pulled at a cuff. "Well, look at it from this 



272 THE PALISER CASE 

angle. Before you discovered that your marriage 
was a sham, you were prepared to assume a few obliga- 
tions and some of them may still subsist. The man 
with the absurd name can tell you what they are. 
Surely you are not a slacker. This is war-time.'' 

With that abandonment which is so gracious in a 
woman, Cassy half raised a hand. *'My front line is 
wavering." 

Jones reached for his hat. ''Over the top then!'* 

Under the table they crawled. 



XXXIV 

YOUR very obedient servant, madam." 
With that and a fine bow, Dunwoodie greeted 
Cassy when Jones had succeeded in getting her into 
the inner and airy office. The old ruffian drew a 
chair. 

"Do me the honour." 

Cassy sat down. What a funny old man, she 
thought. 

Jones addressing the door, remarked dreamily: 
*Tendente lite, I will renew my acquaintance with 
Swinburne's 'Espousals.' " 

Dunwoodie glared. *'You will find it in the library.." 
Then he sat down, folded his hands on his waistcoat 
and smiled at Cassy. "Nice day." 

"Very." 

"Down here often?" 

Cassy shook her docked hair. "No, and I don't 
at all know why I am here now. I do know though, 
and I may as well tell you at once, I have no intention 
of making a fuss." 

Dunwoodie's smile, a smile quasi-ogrish, semi- 
paternal, expanded. "If our Potsdam friend only 
resembled you!" 

For a young woman so recently and doubly be- 
reaved, Cassy's blue smock and yellow skirt seemed to 
him properly subdued. Moreover, from a word that 

273 



274 THE PALISER CASE 

Jones had dropped, he realised that wealth had not 
presided at their selection. 

He twirled his thumbs. "But let me ask, what may 
your full name be?'' 

"'Bianca Cara.'' 

"'Hum! Ha! Most becoming. And how young 
are you?" 

Well, I like that! thought Cassy, who answered: 
'Twenty-one." 

Dunwoodie crossed his legs. **You think me an 
impertinent old man. I don't mean to be impertinent. 
I take a great interest in you." 

''Very good of you, Fm sure." 

''Not at all. Is your grandmother living?" 

"For heaven's sake! You did not know her, did 
you?" 

"No, but I stand ready to take her place." 

"You would find it difficult. She is buried in 
Portugal." 

"The place of your grandfather then, the place of 
any one whom you can trust." 

"But why?" 

"Well, let me ask. What are your plans ?" 

"My plans? Mr. Jones asked me that. I have a 
sort of a voice and I am looking for an engagement. 
But the season is ending. Then too I am told I ought 
to change my name. I won't do it." 

"Hum ! Ha ! But it appears that you have." 

He's crazy too, thought Cassy, who said : "I don't 
know what you are talking about." 

Dunwoodie extracted his towel "Why^ my dear 
young lady, you are Mrs. Faliser." 

Cassy flushed. "I am nothing of the kind. I don't 
know how you got such an idea." 



THE PALISER CASE 275 

Dunwoodie, quite as though he were doing some 
hard thinking, folded and refolded that towel which 
was his handkerchief. ''Yet you married Montagu 
PaHser, jr., did you not?" 

''Not at all. That is I thought I did, but the man 
who performed the ceremony was a gardener.'' 

"Dear me! Is it possible! And where was this?" 

What is it to you? thought Cassy. "At Paliser 
Place, if you must know.'^ 

"And when did it occur?" 

''Really, Mr. Dunwoodie, I can't see why you are 
putting me through this examination, but if it is of 
any benefit to you, it happened just five days before 
he died." 

"Anybody about?" 

"Oh, yes. There were two other servants who en- 
joyed it very much. I heard them laughing and I 
don't blame them. It was a rare treat. A child would 
have laughed at it. All my fault too. I behaved like 
a ninny. But my great mistake was in telling my 
father. I would give the world if I had not. Won't 
you please send for Mr. Jones? As I told you, I 
don't know why I am here." 

Dunwoodie shook out the towel. "You must blame 
him then. He said you were Paliser's widow." 

"Well, you see I am not." 

"Yet you consented to be his wife." 

"Whose? Mr. Jones'?" 

"Paliser's, my dear young lady. However fictitious 
the ceremony, you consented to be Paliser's wife." 

"What if I did? It has nothing to do with it now." 

"Just a little, perhaps. Did you hear Jones say 
that he would renew his acquaintance with Swin- 
burne ?" 



276 THE PALISER CASE 

"From the way he talks, one might think he knew 
him by heart/' 

''Yaas, he is very objectionable. But you are refer- 
ring to the poet. He was referring to the jurist. 
The jurist wrote a very fine book. Let me quote a 
passage from it. *It is the present and perfect consent 
the which alone maketh matrimony, without either sol- 
emnisation or' — here, Dunwoodie, skipping the frank 
old English, substituted — 'or anything else, for neither 
the one nor the other is the essence of matrimony, but 
consent only. Consensus non concubitus facit matri- 
moniam.' Hum! Ha! In other words, whether 
marriage is or is not contracted in facie ecclesise, it is 
consent alone that constitutes its validity. You under- 
stand Latin?'' 

Cassy laughed. *'I dream in it." 

Dunwoodie laughed too. 'Tleasant dreams to you 
always. But what I have quoted was the common 
law, and so remained until altered by the Revised Stat- 
utes, with which no doubt you are equally familiar." 

Cassy smoothed her frock. '1 was brought up on 
them." 

*'I don't need to tell you then that when adopted 
here they provided that marriage should be a civil 
contract. In so providing, they merely reaffirmed the 
existing common law. Subsequently, the law was 
changed. The legislature enacted that a marriage 
must be solemnised by certain persons — ecclesiastic, 
judicial or municipal — or else, that it should be entered 
into by written contract, which contract was to be 
filed in the office of the town clerk. Coincidentally the 
legislature prohibited any marriage contracted other- 
wise than in the manner then prescribed." 

That morning Cassy had been to an agent, a sapona- 



THE PALISER CASE 277 

cious person with a fabulous nose. At the moment 
the nose was before her. She was wondering whether 
it would scent out for her an engagement. 

"However/' Dunwoodie, twisting the edge of his 
towel, continued, 'Various amendments were afterward 
adopted and certain sections repealed. Among the 
latter was the one containing the prohibition which I 
have cited. In my opinion, it was not the intention of 
the legislature to repeal it. Yet, however that may be, 
repealed it was. Since then, or, more exactly, a few 
weeks ago, the enactments regarding the manner in 
which marriage must be solemnised were held to be 
not mandatory but directory, the result being that the 
law originally prevailing has now come again into 
operation, common-law marriages are as valid as be- 
fore and " 

Here Dunwoodie flaunted the towel. 

"And you are Mrs. Paliser." 

Of the entire exposition, Cassy heard but that It 
ousted the agent and his fabulous nose. She bristled. 

"I can't be. I don't want to be. You don't seem 
to see that the clergyman was not a clergyman at all. 
He was one of the help there. I thought I told you. 
Why, there was not even a license! That man said 
he had one. It was only another of the whimsicalities 
that took me in." 

Dunwoodie repocketing the towel, showed his yellow 
teeth. "A young gentlewoman who dreams in Latin, 
and who was brought up on the Revised Statutes, must 
be familiar with Byron. 'Men were deceivers ever.' 
Not long ago, a Lovelace whose history is given in the 
New York Reports conducted himself in a manner 
that would be precisely analogous to that of your late 
husband, were it not that, instead of dying, he did what 



278 THE PALISER CASE 

was less judicious, he married again — and was sent 
up for bigamy. He too had omitted to secure a 
Hcense. He also entertained a lady with a fancy-ball. 
None the less, the Supreme Court decided that he had 
legally tied the matrimonial noose about him and that 
decision the Court of Appeals affirmed." 

Cassy shook her pretty self. "Well, even so, I 
don't see what difference it makes, now at any rate. 
He is dead and that is the end of it.'' 

*'Hum! Not entirely. As widow you are entitled 
to a share in such property as your late husband pos- 
sessed. How much, or how little, he did possess I 
cannot say. But I assume that such share of it as may 
accrue, will be — ha! — adequate for you." 

'^But he hadn't anything. He told me so." 

''He didn't always tell you the truth though, did 
he ? In any event it is probable that he left enough to 
provide for your maintenance." 

Cassy threw up her hands. ''Never in the world." 

Dunwoodie again ran his eyes over the severity of 
her costume. ''You think it would be inadequate?" 

But Cassy was angry. "I don't think anything 
about it. Whether it would or would not be adequate, 
does not make the slightest difference. I won't take it." 

"Ha! And why not?" 

Cassy fumed. "Why not? But isn't it evident? 
That man had no intention of marrying me, no inten- 
tion whatever of leaving me a cent." 

"As it happens, he did both." 

Cassy clenched her small fist. "No matter. He 
did not intend to and don't you see if I were to ac- 
cept a ha'penny of his wretched money, I would be 
benefiting by a crime for which may God forgive my 
poor, dear father." 



THE PALISER CASE 279 

There was a point which the legislature had not 
considered, which not one of all the New York Re- 
ports construed, a point not of law but of conscience, 
a point for a tribunal other than that which sits in 
banco. It floored Dunwoodie. 

Damnation, she's splendid, he decided as, mentally, 
he picked himself up. But it would never do to say- 
so and he turned on her his famous look. 

"Madam, once your marriage is established, the 
money becomes rightfully and legally yours, un- 
less '' 

With that look he was frowning at this handsome 
girl who took law and order with such a high hand. 
But behind the frown was a desire, which he re- 
strained, to hug her. 

Frowning still he looked from Cassy to the door 
and there at a boy, who was poking through it a nose 
on which freckles were strewn thick as bran. 

*'Mr. Rymple, sir, says he has an appointment." 

The old ruffian, rising, turned to Cassy. **One mo- 
ment, if you please." 

The door, caught in a draught, slammed after him, 
though less violently than other doors that were slam- 
ming still. Would they never stop? Cassy wondered. 
Would they slam forever? Were there no rooms in 
life where she might enter and find the silence that is 
peace? Surely, some time, somewhere that silence 
might be hers. 

She turned. Jones, looking extremely disagreeable, 
was walking in. 

Cassy, closing her ears to those doors, exclaimed at 
him. ''Here's a pretty how d'ye do. Mr. Dunwoodie 
says I am Mrs. Paliser." 



28o THE PALISER CASE 

"That afternoon, when you sent your love to my 
cat, I could have told you that. In fact I did." 

From Jones' air and manner you would have said 
that he was willing and able to bite a ten-penny nail. 

Cassy did not notice. "It appears, too, that I am 
entitled to some of his wretched money.'' 

"It is unfortunate I did not know that also." 

"I believe you did. But I sha'n't take it" 

Jones drew a chair. Hatefully he looked her up 
and down. 

"You are quite right. Sixty years ago there was 
but one millionaire in the country. The plutocrat had 
not appeared in the street, he had not even appeared 
in the dictionary. The breed was unknown. To-day 
there are herds of such creatures. I was reading the 
statistics recently and they depressed me beyond 
words. It is always depressing to know how much 
money other people have. You are quite right not to 
suffer poor devils to be depressed by you." 

Mrs. Yallum! thought Cassy, who said as much; 
"I don't know what you are talking about." 

"You are very intelligent. I am talking small 
change." 

Cassy gave a shrug. "Mr. Dunwoodie said I would 
have enough to live on. I can do as well as that my- 
self, thank you." 

"No doubt," Jones snarled. "I am even sure you 
could do worse. It is extraordinary how much one 
can accomplish in refusing a dollar or two that might 
save another man's hfe. To hell with everybody! 
That is the noble attitude. I admire your spirit. A 
handful of bank-notes are crying at you : 'I'm yours, 
take me, give me to the wounded, to the starving!' 



THE PALISER CASE 281 

Not a bit of it. The Viscountess of Casa-Evora is 
too proud. That's superb." 

Cassy turned on him. *'See here, young man '* 

*'Don't you young man me," Jones irritably cut 
in. "In the rotunda out there, Dunwoodie gave me 
a foretaste of your swank and I can tell you I relished 
it. You won't look at a penny of this money because, 
if you did, you would be benefiting by an act com- 
mitted by your father, who, as sure as you live, was 
impelled by the powers invisible to rid the earth of 
Paliser and to rid it of him for no other reason than 
that this money might serve a world in flames. Re- 
fused by you it will only revert to an old rounder 
who never did a good deed in his life; whereas, in- 
stead, it could call down blessings on your father's 
grave. But no, perish the thought ! All that is leather 
and prunella to a young woman who regards herself 
as the arbiter of destiny. By God, you are prodigious !" 

"I think you are horrid." 

''So are you. You are the heiress to millions and 
millions. No wonder you put on airs." 

Occasionally, to exceptional beings, a hand issuing 
from nowhere offers a cup brimming with madness, 
filled to the top with follies and dreams. 

At that cup Cassy stared. It was unreal. If she 
tried to touch it, it would vanish. 

''It is impossible!" she cried. 

Jones looked about. "Where is my harp?" 

Cassy did not know, she could not tell him. She 
had not even heard. A crater in the Wall Street sky 
had opened and from it, in an enchanted shower, fell 
sequins, opals, perfumes and stars. 

But Jones must have found his harp. To that 
shower he was strumming an accompaniment. 



282 THE PALISER CASE 

^'In to-day's paper there is a Red Cross appeal 
which says that what we give is gone. It is incredible, 
but educated people beheve it. The ignorance of ed- 
ucated people is affecting. By reason of their educa- 
tion, which now and then includes mythology, they 
believe that happiness is the greatest of all the gifts 
that the gods can bestow. Being mortal, they try to 
obtain it. Being ignorant, they fail. Ignorance con- 
founds pleasure with happiness. Pleasure comes 
from without, happiness from within. People may be 
very gay and profoundly miserable, really rich and 
terribly poor. In either case their condition is due 
to the fact that the happiness which they sought, they 
sought for themselves. Their error would be stupid 
were it not pathetic. In seeking happiness for them- 
selves they fail to find it, but when they succeed in 
securing it for others, they find that on them also it 
has been bestowed. The money we give is not gone. 
It comes back to us. It returns in happiness and all 
the happiness that the richest, the poorest, the wisest, 
the stupidest can ever possess, is precisely that hap- 
piness which they have given away." 

Where now where those doors ? Cassy, the cascade 
of flowers and stars about her, looked at the harper. 
In listening to him, the doors had ceased to slam. 
About them there was peace. But her eyes had filled. 

Jones was still at it. 

*'The greatest happiness is the cessation of pain. 
That pagan aphorism the Red Cross might put on its 
banners. Spiritually it is defective, but practically it 
is sound and some relief the Red Cross supplies. Give 
to it. You can put your money to no fairer use. It 
will hallow the grave where your father lies.'* 



THE PALISER CASE 283 

From beyond, from the adjacent Curb, came the 
shouts of brokers. 

Jones, abandoning his harp, looked over at the girl. 
**What are you crying about?" 

*'I am not crying,'' spluttered Cassy, who was blub- 
bering like a baby. ^'I never cry. It is disgusting of 
you to say so.'' 

"You are crying." 

*'I am not crying," Cassy, indignantly sniffing and 
sobbing, snapped at him. Fiercely she rubbed her 
eyes. ''It is none of your business, anyhow." Paus- 
ing, she choked, recovered and blearily added : *'And, 
anyway, if the money is mine, really mine, honestly 
mine, I will give it away, all of it, every p — penny." 

''No, no, not all of it," Jones hastily threw in, for 
now the door was opening and Dunwoodie appeared. 
*'Keep a pear for your thirst, put a little million aside." 

He turned to the lawyer. "Mrs. Paliser accepts her 
responsibilities." 

"Hum ! Ha !" The great man sat down and looked 
at Cassy. He looked many things but he said very 
few. "My dear young lady, familiar as you are with 
Latin, with law and with literature, who am I to re- 
mind you that chickens should first be hatched ? Your 
rights may be contested. The Paliser Case, as it will 
be called, may " 

"The Paliser Case!" interjected Jones, who could 
see the headline from where he sat. "Shade of Black- 
stone! It will be famous! It will be filmed! The 
eminent jurist here will be screened and you, too, my 
lady." 

Bale fully Dunwoodie shot a glance at the inkbeast 
and another at Cassy. 

"It may last some time. I have no doubt of the 



284 THE PALISER CASE 

result. None whatever. But in spite of your legal 
knowledge I suggest that you have associate counsel. 
Now, permit me to ask, would you care to retain me or 
would you prefer some one else?'' 

Cassy, who had dried her eyes, looked at him and 
it was remarkable how pretty she looked. 

''Why, no, Mr. Dunwoodie, I would much rather 
have you, only " Uncertainly she paused. 

The eminent jurist took it up. ''Only what?" 

"Well, all I know about law is that it is very ex- 
pensive and I have nothing except my grandfather's 
portrait." 

Dunwoodie touched a button. "Ha ! One moment." 

A thin young man, with a pasty face and a slight 
stoop, opened the door. 

The old ruffian raised a stubby finger. "Purdy, a 
cheque for a thousand dollars, to the order of Bianca 
Paliser, is to be mailed to this lady to-night." 

"But, Mr. Dunwoodie!" Cassy exclaimed. 

"You must allow me to be your banker," he told her, 
and turned again to the clerk. "Get Mr. Jeroloman. 
Say, with my compliments, I shall be obliged if he will 
look in here. And, Purdy, see to it that that cheque is 
attended to. Mrs. Paliser will give you her address." 

"But, Mr. Dunwoodie!" Cassy exclaimed again, as 
the sallow youth went out. 

To distract her attention, instantly Jones improvised 
a limerick. "There was a young man named Purdy, 
who was not what you'd call very sturdy. To be more 
of a sport, he drank gin by the quart, and danced on 
a hurdy-gurdy." 

"You're insane," announced Cassy, who was a trifle 
demented herself. 

Dunwoodie extracted his towel. "Jeroloman is the 



THE PALISER CASE 285 

attorney for the other side. He will want to meet 
Mrs. Paliser, but that honour will not be his to-day." 

Cassy stood up. "I should hope not. He would 
be the last camel on the straw — I mean the last straw 
on the camel." 

Dunwoodie, rising also, gave her his fine bow and 
to Jones a hand. 

Then as the two made for the door, from over her 
shoulder she smiled back at him. 

''My grandmother could not have been nicer." 

**What do you mean by that?" Jones absently in- 
quired. 

But, in the rotunda now, Mr. Purdy was asking her 
address. If he had dared he would have followed 
her there. Fortune favouring, he would have followed 
her to the ends of the earth. It was what one of our 
allies calls the thunderbolt. Never before had he be- 
held such a face. Earnestly he prayed that he might 
behold it again. Allah is great. The prayer was 
granted. 

In the canon below, Jones, as he piloted her to the 
subway, pulled at his gloves. 

"If I had the ability, I would write an opera, call 
it *Danae' and offer you the title-role." 

Cassy, her thoughts on her grandmother, repeated 
it. "Danae?" 

*'Yes, the lady disconnected by marriage with 
Jupiter who tubbed her in gold — gold ink, I suppose. 
But as I am not a composer I shall put you between 
the sheets — of a novel I mean. Fiction has its con- 
solations." 

But now, leaving the canon, they entered a cavern 
which a tunnel fluted. There Cassy looked up at the 
inkbeast. "How is Mr. Lennox? Do you see him?" 



286 THE PALISER CASE 

*'I find it very difficult not to. Unattached people 
are sticky as flies. When Lennox was engaged, he 
was invisible. Now he is all over the place.'' 

From the tunnel a train erupted. It came with the 
belch of a monstrous beetle, red-eyed and menacing, 
hastening terribly to some horrible task. 

Jones, shoving the girl into its bowels, added: **I 
was happier when he was jugged." 

A corner beckoned. There, as the beetle resumed 
its flight, the novelist spread his wings. 

*'I would have wagered a red pippin that you 
couldn't say Jack Robinson before he and that young 
woman were convoluting joyously. I even planned 
to be best man. Saw my tailor about it. Whether it 
were on that account or not the Lords of Karma only 
know, but he told Miss Austen to go to hell." 

Cassy started. From before her everything was 
receding. 

Jones noting the movement, interpreted it naturally 
and therefore stupidly. He apologised. 

''Forgive me. I picture you as Our Lady of the 
Immaculate Conversation. Forgive me, then. Be- 
sides, what Lennox did say, he said with less elegance. 
He said : Tm through.' Yes and asked me to re- 
peat it to her. I studiously omitted to, but as Proteus 
— Mr. Blount in private life^ — somewhere expressed it, 
'Hell has no more fixed or absolute decree.' " 

Because of the crashing beetle Jones had to shout 
it. He shouted it in Cassy' s ear. It was a lovely ear 
and Jones was aware of it. But only professionally. 
Since that night in Naples when, by way of keepsake, 
he got a dagger in his back, he had entertained the be- 
lief that a novelist should have everything, even to 
sex, in his brain. Such theories are very safe. Jones' 



THE PALISER CASE 287 

admirations were not therefore carnal. To Balzac, a 
pretty woman was a plot. Cassy was a plot to Jones, 
who continued to shout. 

''If Lennox and Margaret Austen moved and had 
their being in a novel of mine, the wedding-bells would 
now be ringing at a cradle in the last chapter. Com- 
mercially it would be my duty to supply that happy 
and always unexpected touch. I even made a bet about 
it, which shows how iniquitous gambling is. What's 
more, it shows that I must have an unsuspected talent 
for picture-plays. As it was in heaven, so it is now in 
the movies. It is there that marriages are made. But 
forgive me again. I am talking shop." 

The renewed apology was needless. Though Jones 
shouted, Cassy did not hear. It was not the clatter- 
ing beetle that interfered. To that also Cassy was 
deaf. She heard nothing. The^ echo of noisy mil- 
lions had gone. The slamming doors were silent. But 
her face was pale as running water when, the beetle 
at last abandoned, she thanked Jones for seeing her all 
the way. 

All the way to where? God, if she only knew! 



XXXV 

LATER that day, Jeroloman, the attorney for the 
other side, who at the time had no idea that there 
was another side, or any side at all, entered the rotunda 
and asked for Dunwoodie. 

In asking, he removed his hat, glanced at its glisten, 
put it on again. The hat was silk. It topped iron 
grey hair, steel-blue eyes, a turn-under nose, a thin- 
lipped mouth, a pointed chin, a stand-up collar, a dark 
neckcloth, a morning coat, grey gloves, grey trousers, 
drab spats and patent-leather boots. These attributes 
gave him an air that was intensely respectable, equally 
tiresome. One pitied his wife. 

"This way, sir.'' 

In the inner and airy office, Dunwoodie nodded, mo- 
tioned at a chair. 

''Ha ! Very good of you to trouble." 

Jeroloman, seating himself, again removed his hat. 
Before he could dispose of it, Dunwoodie was at him. 

*'Young Paliser's estate. In round figures what does 
it amount to?'' 

Jeroloman, selecting a safe place on the table, put 
the hat on it and answered, not sparringly, there was 
nothing to spar about, but with civil indifference: 
^'Interested professionally?" 

"His widow is my client." 

Jeroloman's eyes fastened themselves on Dunwoodie, 
who he knew was incapable of anything that sa- 

288 



THE PALISER CASE 289 

voured, however remotely, of shysterism. But it was 
a year and a day since he had been closeted with him. 
In the interim, time had told. Diverting those eyes, 
he displayed a smile that was chill and dental. 

"Well, well! We all make mistakes. There is no 
such person." He paused, awaiting the possible pro- 
test. None came and he added : "The morning after 
the murder, his father told me that the young man 
contemplated marriage with a lady who had his en-» 
tire approval. Unfortunately " 

"Yaas,'' Dunwoodie broke in. "Unfortunately, as 
you say. The morning after was the 26th. On the 
2 1st, a gardener, who pretended to be a clergyman, 
officiated at his marriage to my client." 

Dryly but involuntarily Jeroloman laughed. Dun- 
woodie was getting on, getting old. In his day he had 
been remarkably able. That day had gone. 

"Well, well! Even admitting that such a thing 
could have happened, it must have been only by way 
of a lark." 

Dunwoodie whipped out his towel. "You don't 
say so !" 

Carelessly Jeroloman surveyed him. He was cer- 
tainly senile, yet, because of his laurels, entitled to all 
the honours of war. 

"Look here, Mr. Dunwoodie. You are not by any 
chance serious, are you ?" 

"Oh, Tm looking. While I was about it, I looked 
into the case. Per verba de praesenti, my client con- 
sented to be young Pahser's wife. Now she is his 
widow." 

Jeroloman weighed it. The weighing took but an 
instant. Dunwoodie was living in the past, but there 



290 THE PALISER CASE 

was no use in beating about the bush and he said as 
much. 

''You are thinking of the common law, sir." 
Absently Dunwoodie creased his towel. ''Now you 
mention it, I beUeve I am.'' 

Jeroloman glanced at his watch. It was getting 
late. His residence was five miles away. He was to 
dress, dine early and take his wife to the theatre. He 
would have to hurry and he reached for his hat. 
"The common law was abrogated long ago." 
Dunwoodie rumpled the towel. "Why, so it was!" 
Jeroloman took the hat and with a gloved finger 
rubbed at the brim. "Even otherwise, the term com- 
mon-law wife is not legally recognised. The law looks 
with no favour on the connection indicated by it. The 
term is synonymous for a woman who, having lived 
illicitly with a man, seeks to assume the relationship 
of wife after his death and thereby share in the pro- 
ceeds of his property." 

From under beetling brows, Dunwoodie looked at 
him. "Thanks for the lecture, Jeroloman. My client 
has no such desire. In this office, an hour ago, she re- 
fused them." 

Jeroloman stood up. "Very sensible of her, Fm 
sure." He twirled the hat. "Who is she?" 
"I thought I told you. She is Mrs. Paliser." 
Jeroloman waved that hat. "Well, well ! I thought 
I told you. As it is, if you will take the trouble to 
look at the laws of 1901, you will find that common- 
law marriages are inhibited." 

"Hum ! Ha ! And if you will trouble to look at the 
Laws of 1907, you will find they are inhibited no 
longer." 

Jeroloman stared. "I have yet to learn of it." 



THE PALISER CASE 291 

Dunwoodie repocketed his towel. "Is it possible? 
Then when the opportunity occurs you might inform 
yourself. At the same time let me recommend the 
Court of Appeals for March. You may find there 
additional instruction. But I set you are going. Don't 
let me detain you." 

Jeroloman sat down. "What case are you referring 

tor 

"The Matter of Ziegler/' 

Uncertainly Jeroloman's steel-blue eyes shifted. "It 
seems to me I read the syllabus." 

"Then your powers of concealment are admirable." 

"But just what does it hold?" 

"Can it be that you don't remember? Well, welH 
— to borrow your own agreeable mode of expression 
— it holds that common-law marriages that were valid 
before and until the enactments which you were good 
enough to cite, were again made valid by their appeal 
in Chapter 742 of the Laws of 1907." 

"But," Jeroloman began and paused. "But " 

He paused again. 

Comfortably Dunwoodie helped him. "Yes?" 

"You say that marriages valid before and until the 
Laws of 1901 are, by virtue of a repeal, now valid 
again?" 

"That is what I say, Jeroloman. Merely that and 
nothing more. In addition to the Ziegler case, let me 
commend to you 'The Raven.' " 

"Let's get down to facts, sir. From your account 
of it, this alleged marriage never could have been 
valid." 

Dunwoodie wiped his mouth. "Dear me! I had 
no idea that my account of it could lead to such in-- 
teresting views. You do surprise me." 



292 THE PALISER CASE 

"Mr. Dunwoodie, you said the ceremony was per- 
formed by a gardener who pretended to be a clergy- 
man. Those were your very words/' 

"Yaas. Let the cat out of the bag, didn't I?'* 

Archly but chillily Jeroloman smiled. "Well, no, 
I would not care to put it in that way, but your office- 
boy must know that false representations void it." 

"Good Lord!" Dunwoodie exclaimed. It was as 
though he had been hit in the stomach. 

Jeroloman, who was eyeing him, gave a little nod 
that was tantamount to saying, "Take that !" 

But Dunwoodie was recovering. He sat back, 
looked admiringly at Jeroloman, clasped his hands and 
twirled his thumbs. 

Jeroloman, annoyed at the attitude and in haste to 
be going, pursed his thin lips. "Well, sir?" 

With an affability that was as unusual as it was sus- 
picious, Dunwoodie smiled at him. "Your objection 
is well taken. Not an hour ago, in that chair in 
which you are sitting, this lady, my client, who not 
once in her sweet life has opened the Revised Statutes, 
and who, to save it, could not tell the difference be- 
tween them and the Code, well, sir, she entered that 
same objection." 

"I don't see " 

"Nor did she, God bless her ! And I fear I wearied 
her with my reasons for not sustaining it. But I did 
not tell her, what I may confide in you, that in Hays 
versus The People — 25 New York — it is held imma- 
terial whether a person who pretended to solemnise 
a marriage contract, was or was not a clergyman, or 
whether either party to the contract was deceived by 
false representations of this character. Hum! Ha!" 

Jeroloman pulled at his long chin. In so doing he 



THE PALISER CASE 293 

rubbed his hat the wrong way. He did not notice. 
That he was to dress, dine early, take his wife to the 
theatre, that it was getting late and that his residence 
was five miles away, all these things were forgotten. 
What he saw were abominations that his client would 
abhor — the suit, the notoriety, the exposure, the whole 
dirty business dumped before the public's greedy and 
shining eyes. 

*'Who is she?'' he suddenly asked. 

"Who was she?" Dunwoodie corrected. *'Miss 
Cara." 

Jeroloman started and dropped his hat. "Not ?" 

Dunwoodie nodded. "His daughter." 

Jeroloman, bending over, recovered his hat. Be- 
fore it, a picture floated. It represented an assassin's 
child gutting the estate of a son whom the father had 
murdered. It was a bit too cubist. Somewhere he 
had seen another picture of that school. It showed a 
young woman falling downstairs. He did not know 
but that he might reproduce it. At least he could try. 
Meanwhile it was just as well to take the model's 
measure and again his eyes fastened on Dunwoodie. 

"What do you suggest?" 

Dunwoodie, loosening his clasped hands, beat with 
the fingers a tattoo on his waistcoat. 

"Let me see. There is The Raven,' the first primer, 
the multiplication table. Is it for your enlightenment 
that you ask?" 

Jeroloman moistened his lips. Precise, careful, 
capable, intensely respectable, none the less he could 
have struck him. A moment only. From the sleeve 
of his coat he flicked, or affected to flick, a speck. 

"Yes, thank you, for my enlightenment. You have 
not told me what your client wants." 



294 THE PALISER CASE 

"What a woman wants is usually beyond masculine 
comprehension." 

Methodically Jeroloman dusted his hat. "You 
might enquire. We, none of us, favour litigation. In 
the interests of my client I always try to avoid it and, 

while at present I have no authority, yet Well, 

well! Between ourselves, how would a ponderable 
amount, four or five thousand, how would that do?" 

Blandly Dunwoodie looked at this man, who was 
trying to take Cassy's measure. 

"For what?" 

"To settle it." 

That bland air, where was it ? In its place was the 
look which occasionally the ruffian turned on the 
Bench. 

"Hum! Ha! Then for your further enlightenment 
let me inform you that my client will settle it for what 
she is legally entitled to, not one ponderable dollar 
more, not one ponderable copper less." 

Mentally, from before that look, Jeroloman was re- 
treating. Mentally as well, already he had reversed 
himself. He had judged Dunwoodie old, back-num- 
ber, living in the past. Instead of which the fossil 
was what he always had been — just one too many. 
Though not perhaps for him. Not for Randolph F. 
Jeroloman. Not yet, at any rate. The points ad- 
vanced were new, undigested, perhaps inexact, filled 
with discoverable flaws. Though, even so, how M. P. 
would view them was another kettle of fish. But 
that was as might be. He put on his hat and stood up. 

"Very good. I will give the matter my attention." 

"Do," Dunwoodie, with that same look, retorted, 
"And meanwhile I will apply for letters of adminis- 



THE PALISER CASE 295 

tration. Hum! Ha! My compliments to your good 
lady." 

He turned in his chair. Attention, indeed! He 
knew what that meant. The matter would be submit- 
ted to M. P. The old devil had not a leg to stand on, 
he lacked even a crutch, and in that impotent, dis- 
membered and helpless condition he would be thrown 
out of court. A ponderable amount! Hum! 

For a moment he considered the case. But it may 
be that already it had been heard and adjudged. Long 
since, perhaps, at some court of last resort, the Pal- 
iser Case had been decided. 



XXXVT 

/^N the morrow, Jeroloman waited on his client, 
^^ who received him in the library, an agreeable 
room in which there was nothing literary, but which 
succeeded at once in becoming extremely unpleasant. 

M. P. was in tweeds. When his late lamented de- 
parted this life, he wore crepe on his hat for ninety 
days. It was a tribute that he paid, not to the lady's 
virtues, which were notoriously absent; nor to any 
love of her, for he had disliked her exceedingly; nor 
yet because it was conventional, he hated convention- 
ality ; but, by Gad, sir, because it bucks the women up ! 
All that was long ago. Since then he had become less 
fastidious. At his son's funeral he appeared in black. 

Now, on this day, dressed in tweeds, he greeted 
Jeroloman with his usual cordiality. 

*'I hope to God you are not going to bother me 
about anything?'' 

The wicked old man, who had faced wicked facts 
before, faced a few of them then. The stench of the 
main fact had been passing from him, deodorised 
by the fumigating belief that his son had been killed 
by a lunatic. Now here it was again, more mephitic 
than ever, and for the whiffs of it with which Jerolo- 
man was spraying him, he hated the man. 

'Whom has she?" 

"Dunwoodie." 

He reviewed the bar. There was Bancroft, whose 

296 



THE PALISER CASE 297 

name was always in the papers and to whom clients 
flocked. There was Gwathmay, whom the papers ig- 
nored and whom only lawyers consulted. He might 
have either or both, the rest of the crew as well, and 
in spite of them all, unless he permitted himself to be 
done, the publicity would be just as resounding. 

In the old nights, when social New York was a 
small and early, threats had amused him. '1 have 
my hours for being blackmailed, this is not one of 
them," he had lightly remarked at a delightful gang. 
'^Do your damnedest." 

They took him at his word and so completely that 
the small and early saw him no more. What was 
that to him ? There were other pastures, less scrump- 
tious perhaps, but also far less fatiguing. He had 
not cared, not a rap. Behind him the yard of brass 
yodled in a manner quite as lordly as before. His 
high-steppers lost none of their sheen; his yacht re- 
tained all its effulgence; so, too, did the glare of his 
coin. No, he had not cared. But that was long ago, 
so long that it might have happened in an anterior 
existence. He had not cared then. Age is instructive. 
He had learned to since. Moreover, in testimony of 
his change of heart, a miracle had been vouchsafed. 
The affair at the Opera, attributed to a lunatic, had 
been buried safely, like his son, the scandal tossed in 
for shroud. How freely he had breathed since then! 
The little green bottle of menthe he had barely 
touched. He might live to see everything forgiven 
or, what is quite as satisfactory, forgotten. And 
now! Columns and columns, endlessly, day in, day 
out; the Paliser Case dragged from one court to an- 
other, the stench of it exceeded only by that of the 
Huns! But, by comparison, blackmail, however bit- 



298 THE PALISER CASE 

ter, was sweet. When one may choose between honey 
and gall, decision is swift. 

"What'll she take?'' 

Jeroloman, who had left his hat on the malachite 
bench in the hall, smoothed his gloves. He was about 
to reply. Before he could, his client shook a fist at 
him. 

'The slut hasn't a cent. Came to the Place with a 
bundle, damn her. A suit like this costs something. 
Where's she going to get it? What'U she take?" 

Jeroloman looked up from his gloves. **I don't 
know." 

'Then find out." 

**I offered Dunwoodie a ponderable amount." 

"Well?" 

"He refused it." 

"Double it, then, triple it." 

"Mr. Paliser, I'm sorry, but it won't do." 

"Damnation, why not?" 

"It is all or nothing with him and maybe nothing 
in the end. I told him so. I told him that the courts 
view with no favour a woman who, having lived il- 
licitly with a man, claims, on his demise, to be his 
widow. Such a claim is but the declaration of a 
woman entered after the death of her alleged hus- 
band and, as such, is inadmissable under Section 829 
of the Code. I have posted myself very thoroughly 
in the matter, though I find it has been held " 

"Damn what has been held. It's all or nothing, 
is it?" 

Jeroloman pulled at his long chin. 

All, the wicked old man reflected. All! All would 
be ten million and ten million was less than a tenth 
of his wealth — ten million for which he had no earthly 



THE PALISER CASE 299 

need, which it would fatigue him to spend, burden 
him to hoard, disgrace him to fight for, and which, 
normally, would go to a brat whom he had never seen 
and whom, as next in line, he hated. 

Already he had decided. Though, it may be that 
on planes of which he knew nothing, long since it had 
been decided for him. 

None the less it hurt. It hurt horribly. From a 
pocket, he drew a little bottle. 

"Settle it then." 

''On what basis?" 

"All and be damned to her." 

But now the menthe that he had raised to his lips 
was trickling from the bottle, staining his tweeds. He 
hiccoughed, gasped, motioned. 

"And good-day to you." 

Below, on the malachite bench, a silk hat was wait- 
ing. When that hat again appeared in Dunwoodie's 
office, the Paliser Case was over. It had ended be- 
fore it began. 



XXXVII 

/^^ ASSY sat in the kitchen. Before her were a 
^^^ cheque and a letter. The letter was from the 
theatre-man. The cheque was Dunwoodie's. The 
cheque begged to be cashed, the letter begged her 
to call. 

During the night she had gone looking along an ave- 
nue where there were houses with candid windows 
from which faces peered and smiled. But it was not 
for these that she was looking and she awoke in a 
tempest of farewells. 

Now, across the court, in the kitchen opposite, were 
two inoffensive beings. On that evening when her 
father had made her cry, they had seemed unreal. 
On this forenoon their baseless appearance persisted. 
But their unreality was not confined to them. Their 
kitchen, the court, the building shared it. They were 
all unreal, everything was, except one thing only, 
which perhaps was more unreal than all things else. 

She looked at the letter and from it at the cheque. 
The day before, on returning from the shower of 
millions that had caught and drenched her in Broad 
Street, she was not entirely dry. The glisten of the 
golden rain hung all about her. None the less on 
reaching the walk-up she forgot it. There were other 
matters, more important, that she had in mind. But 
only a philosopher could be drenched as she had been 
and remain unaffected. The bath is too voluptuous 
for the normal heart. On its waters float argosies 
crimson-hulled, purple-rigged, freighted with dreams 

300 



THE PALISER CASE 301 

come true. You have but a gesture to make. Those 
dreams are spaniels crouching at your feet. At a 
bath not dissimilar but financially far shallower, Monte 
Cristo cried: *The world is mine!" It was very 
amusing of him. But though, since then, values have 
varied, a bagatelle of ten millions is deep enough for 
any girl, sufficiently deep at least for its depths to hold 
strange things. 

At those things, strange indeed and yet not unfa- 
miliar, Cassy beckoned. In their embrace she saw 
herself, as Jones had pictured her, going about, giving 
money away, strewing it full-handed, changing sobs 
into smiles. The picture lacked novelty. Often she 
had dreamed it. Only recently, on the afternoon just 
before the clock struck twelve, just before the gardener 
lit his pipe and the mask had fallen, only then, and, 
relatively, that was but yesterday, she had prome- 
naded in it. It was a dream she had dreamed when a 
child, that had haunted her girlhood, that had abided 
since then. It was the dream of a dream she had 
dreamed without daring to believe in its truth. Now, 
from the core of the web that is spun by the spiderous 
fates, out it had sprung. There, before her eyes, 
within her grasp was that miracle, a rainbow solidi- 
fied, vapour made tangible, a dream no longer a dream 
but a palette and a palette that you could toss in the 
air, put in the bank, secrete or squander, a palette with 
which you could paint the hours and make them twist 
to jewelled harps. No more walk-up! Good-bye, 
kitchy! Harlem, addio! The gentleman with the 
fabulous nose could whistle. Vaudeville, indeed ! She 
could buy the shop, buy a dozen of them, tear them 
down, build them up, throw them into one and sing 
there, sing what she liked, when she liked, as she liked. 
Yes, but for whom? God of gods, for whom? 



302 THE PALISER CASE 

A local newspaper bears — or bore — a sage device: 
La nuit porte conseil. That night, on her white bed, 
in her black room, Cassy sought it. But the counsel 
that night brings is not delivered while you toss about. 
Night waits until you sleep. Then, to the subjective 
self that never sleeps, the message is delivered. It 
may be fallible, often it is and, in our scheme of 
things, what is there that is not ? Yet in any dilemma 
bad advice may be better than none. Then, without 
transition, the black room changed into an avenue 
where faces peered and smiled. It was not though 
for these that she was looking, but for her way. It 
must have been very narrow. Though she looked and 
looked she could not find it. Yet it was near, 
perhaps just around the comer. But in some manner, 
she could not reach it. Sleep sank her deeper. When 
she awoke, there it was. 

Now as she sat in the kitchen, before which, in the 
kitchen opposite, bundles of baseless appearances came 
and went, she began counting her wealth on her 
fingers. Youth ! Up went her thumb. Health ! The 
forefinger. Lungs! The second finger. Not being 
a fright ! The fourth. How rich she was ! But was 
there not something else ? Oh, yes ! Sadly she smiled. 
A clear conscience ! She had forgotten that and that 
came first. Youth, health, lungs, looks, these were 
gamblers' tokens in the great roulette of life. In the 
hazards of chance at any moment she might lose one 
or all, as eventually she must lose them and remain 
no poorer than before. But her first asset which she 
had counted last, that was her fortune, the estate she 
held by virtue of a trust so guardedly created that if 
she lost one mite, the whole treasure was withdrawn. 

On the washtub — covered admirably with linoleum 
— at which she sat, were the cheque for a thousand 



THE PALISER CASE 303 

dollars and the bid from the vaudeville man. The 
bid, she knew, meant money. But the cheque would 
beggar her. 

She drew breath and sat back. From above a fil- 
ter of sunlight fell and told her it was noon. Across 
the court the bundles of baseless appearances trans- 
formed themselves into a real woman, an actual child. 
The kitchen in which they moved, the house in which 
they dwelled were no longer the perceptions of a per- 
ceiver. They also were real. So, too, was life. 

An hour and Mr. Purdy's pasty face turned feebly 
red. He stammered it. 

No, unfortunately, Mr. Dunwoodie was out. Would 
Mrs. Paliser wait? In Mr. Dunwoodie's private of- 
fice? And the 'Herald' perhaps or the 'Times' — or 
— or 

Everything there. Broad Street to boot, the Stock 
Exchange included, Mr. Purdy was ready and anxious 
to offer. 

No, Mrs. Paliser would not wait — and mentally she 
thanked her stars for it. But would Mr. Purdy do 
something for her? 

Would he! The brave spirit of Talleyrand must 
have animated that sickly young man. If what Mrs. 
Paliser desired were possible it would be done: if im- 
possible, it was done already. 

Cassy gave him the rare seduction of her smile. 
She also was entertaining an emotion or two. She had 
not at all known where she would find the strength 
to confront and confute a grandmotherly old ruffian. 
But luck was with her. He was out. 

So very good of Mr. Purdy then and would he 
please give Mr. Dunwoodie this cheque and say she's 
sorry she can't accept it or the other money either? 
She had said she would, but, really, it was not intended 



304 THE PALISER CASE 

for her. Supposing she took it. She would feel like 
a thief in a fog. Exactly that. A thief in a fog. 
No, she couldn't. Couldn't and wouldn't. Just as 
grateful though to Mr. Dunwoodie. Her regrets to 
him and a thousand thanks. 

*'And good-day, Mr. Purdy. I thank you also.'' 

Mr. Purdy, flushing feebly, saw her to the door, 
saw her to the hall without. There, while he waited 
with her for a descending lift, a silk hat that had 
just come from a malachite bench, alighted from an 
ascending one. Immediately the other lift took her. 

"Who was that?" the hat's owner alertly asked. 

Mr. Purdy rubbed his perspiring hands. "Mrs. 
PaHser." 

Jeroloman wheeled like a rat. He looked at the 
cage. It had vanished. He looked at the other. 
Above it a moving finger pointed upward. Cold- 
blooded, meticulously precise, intensely respectable, 
none the less, for one delirious second, madness seized 
him. He wished to God he could hurry down, over- 
take the impostor, lure her into his own office, frighten 
her out of such wits as she possessed and buy her off 
for tuppence. Instantly Respectability had him by 
the collar. He could not. Precision gave him a kick. 
Wouldn't stand if he did. 

Deeply he swore. The millions were gone. Hands 
down, without a struggle, the Paliser estate was 
rooked. No fault of his though, and mechanically he 
adjusted that hat. Damn her! 

In the street below, superbly, with sidereal indif- 
ference, the sun shone down on the imbecile activities 
of man. The storm of the day before that had 
drenched Cassy so abundantly, had been blown afar, 
blown from her forever. The sky in which a volcano 
had formed was remote and empty. 



THE PALISER CASE 305 

''Ouf !" Cassy muttered in relief and muttered, too: 
'*Now for the agent!'' 

She had reached the corner. Just beyond was the 
subway. It would land her within two squares of the 
man's greasy office. Now, though, suddenly, she felt 
a gnawing. A sandwich would taste good. Two 
sandwiches would taste better. Then, quite as sud- 
denly, that vision, the street with it, everything, ex- 
cept one thing only, vanished. 

Blocking the way stood Lennox. 

"Where to in such a hurry?" 

Easily she smiled and told him. ''Fm going to 
buy a rhinoceros." But for all the easiness of it her 
tongue nearly tripped. "'And what are you doing?" 

"I? Oh! Cleaning up." 

Wall Street is not a Japanese tea-garden. It lacks 
the klop-klop of fountains. Yet, even in its metallic 
roar there may — for exceptional beings — be peace 
there. Not for Cassy, though. She could have 
screamed. 

A moment only. Lennox turned and both moved on. 

*'Let's get out of this." 

Cassy looked up at him. "You forget my little 
errand." 

"Ah, yes! The rhinoceros. Couldn't you ask me 
to meet him?" 

"I shall be giving dinner-parties for him every 
evening. Would you care to come?" 

They had reached cavernous steps down which Cassy 
was going. 

Lennox raised his hat. "I will come to-night." 

Through the metallic roar, the four words dropped 
and hummed. 



XXXVIII 

I" T is going to be splendid. There will be candles T' 
-*■ — a young person, dead since but still living, ex- 
claimed of her poet's fete. The fete, however lavish, 
and which you will find reported by Murger, was not 
held in a kitchen. The poet's garret did not contain 
a kitchen. That was Paris. 

Hereabouts, nowadays, walk-ups are more ornate. 
Cassy's dinner that night was served on rich linoleum 
and not out of snobbishness either but because the 
table had gone from the living-room and though the 
piano remained one could not very well dine on that, 
or, for that matter, on the sofa. There are details into 
which a hostess never enters. Cassy — in black chif- 
fon — did not offer any and Lennox — in evening clothes 
— did not ask. He had never dined in a kitchen be- 
fore and, so far as the present historian knows not 
to the contrary, he did not dine in one again. But 
he enjoyed the experience. There was cold chicken, 
a salad, youth, youth's wine and running laughter. 
For dessert, a remark. 

The rich linoleum then had been abandoned for 
the other room where Cassy sat on the sofa and Len- 
nox on the one surviving chair. Beyond was the piano. 
Additionally, in some neighbourly flat, a phonograph 
performed. 

Among these luxuries sweets were served. A ques- 
tion preceded them. 

*'Do you remember the afternoon you were in my 
rooms?" 

^.^6 



THE PALISER CASE 30'^ 

Yes, Cassy remembered it. 

Then came the remark. 'That afternoon I laughed. 
Until to-night — except once — I haven't laughed since 
then." 

Very good dessert, with more to follow. 

**When you went, the sunlight went with you. It 
went out at your heels like a dog. I was thinking 
about it recently. I don't seem to have seen the sun- 
light again, until it played about your rhinoceros." 

There are sweets that are bitter. Cassy took one. 

"Mr. Jones told me. It does seem such a pity, such 
a great pity. I saw her once and I could see she was 
not merely good to look at but really good, good 
through and through." 

"May I smoke?" Lennox asked. 

Had he wished he could have stood on his head. 
Cassy nodded at him. He got out a cigar. 

"Miss Austen is all you say. She is a saint. A 
man doesn't want a saint. A man wants flesh and 
blood." 

Cassy took another bitter-sweet. "She's that. Any 
one would know it." 

Lennox bit at the cigar. "Too good for me, though. 
So good that she threw me over." 

Cassy put a finger through it. "She did not under- 
stand. Any girl might have done the same." 

Sombrely Lennox considered her. "Would you? 
You say she did not understand. I know well enough 
she did not. But if you cared for a man, would you 
throw him over because of a charge which you could 
not be sure was true and without giving him a chance 
to disprove it? Would you?" 

He could stand on his head, yes, but it was unfair 
to grill her. She flushed. 

"I don't see what that has to do with it." 



3o8 THE PALISER CASE 

"How, you don't see?'' 

''Isn't it obvious? Miss Austen and I move in dif- 
ferent worlds. On any subject our views might dif- 
fer and I don't mean at all but that hers would be 
superior." 

'There can be but one view of what's square." 

**I am sure she meant to be." 

Unconcernedly, Lennox smiled. The smile lit his 
face. From sombre it became radiant. 

'That's all very well. The point is what you would 
think. Would you think it square to throw a man 
over as she threw me?" 

Cassy showed her teeth. "If I didn't care for him, 
certainly I would." 

"But if you did?" 

That was too much. Cassy exclaimed at it. "If! 
If! How can I tell? I don't know. I lack expe- 
rience." 

"But not heart." 

He was right about that, worse luck. How it beat, 
too ! It would kill her though to have him suspect it. 

"I do wish you would tell me," he added. 

Cassy, casting about, felt like an imbecile and said 
brilliantly: "Haven't you a match? Shall I fetch 
one?" 

Lennox extracted a little case. "Thanks. It's an 
answer I'd like." 

It was enough to drive you mad and again casting 
about, but not getting it, she hedged. 

"It will have to be in the abstract, then." 

"Very good. Let's have it in the abstract." 

Yet even in the abstract! However, with an up- 
lift of the chin that gave her, she felt, an air of dis- 
cussing a matter in which she had no concern at all, 
she plunged. 



THE PALISER CASE 309 

*'One never knows, don't you know, but it seems 
to me that if by any chance I did care for a man — ^not 
that it is in the least presumable that I ever shall — 
but if I did, why, then, no. He couldn't get rid of 
me, not unless he tried very hard, but if he didn't, 
then no matter what I heard, no matter how true it 
might be, I would cling to his coat-tails, that is, if he 
wore them, and if, also, he cared for a ninny like me." 

Cassy paused, shook her docked hair and solemnly 
resumed: ''Which, of course, he couldn't." 

'1 knew you would say that." 

''Say what?" Previously flushed, she reddened. But 
there is a God. The room had grown dim. 

"That you wouldn't cut and run." 

She could have slapped him. ''Then why did you 
ask me?" 

Lennox blew a ring of smoke. 

"To have you see it as I do. To have you see that 
at the first flurry Miss Austen ran to cover. I am 
quite sure I could show her that she ran too quick, 
but I am equally sure it is a blessing that she did run. 
It is not ambitious of a. man to want a girl who will 
stand her ground. Sooner or later some other flurry 
would have knocked the ground from under and then 
it might have been awkward. This one let me out." 

He stood up, opened the window, dropped the cigar 
from it. The cigar might have been Margaret Austen. 

"What are your plans?" he asked and sat again. 

Ah, how much safer that was! Cassy grabbed 
at it. 

"You are the third person to ask me. First, Mr. 

Jones. Then — then " But she did not want to 

mention Dunwoodie or anything about the great cas- 
cade of gorgeous follies and she jumped them both. 
"Then an agent. He asked me yesterday and to-day 



310 THE PALISER CASE 

he had a contract for me and a cheque in advance. He 
is a very horrid little man but so decent!'* 

"When does it begin?'' 

"The engagement? Next week. What plans have 
you?'' 

"A few that have been made for me. Presently we 
sail." 

"For France?" 

"For France." 

It was cooler now, at least her face was, and she 
got up and switched the light. 

"I wish I might go, too," she told him. "But I 
lack the training to be nurse and the means to be 
vivandiere — canteener, I think they call it." She hes- 
itated and added. "Shall I see you before you go?" 

But now from the phonograph in the neighbourly 
flat, the Non te scordar drifted, sung nobly by some 
fat tenor who probably loathed it. 

Lennox, who had risen with her, asked: "May 
I come to-morrow?" 

The aria enveloped them and for a moment Cassy 
trilled in. 

"Perhaps to-morrow you will sing for me," he 
continued. 

"Yes, I'll sing." 

Later, in the black room on the white bed, the fat 
tenor's tuneful prayer floated just above her. Cassy 
repeated the words and told herself she was silly. She 
may have been, but also she was tired. She knew it 
and for a moment wondered why. Painted hours danc- 
ing to jewelled harps are not to be sneezed at. But 
when they are not yours, when you have really no 
right to them, it is not fatiguing to say so. A ges- 
ture does not fatigue. It is certainly taxing to go to 
a greasy office, sign your name and receive a cheque. 



THE PALISER CASE 311 

Taxing but endurable. It is not that that does you 
up. It is argument that tires you, particularly when 
there is no need for any and you are forced to turn 
yourself inside out. How fortunate it was, though, 
that the room had been dark! In the balm of that, 
sleep took her. 

The next day she had many things to do and suc- 
ceeded in botching most of them. I have no mind 
for anything, she decided. What is the matter with 
me? But, at least, when at last she opened the door 
for him, there was nothing amiss with her appearance. 

In the room where the piano was, she sat down on 
the bench and smiled up at him. ''Shall I sing now ?" 

Lennox put his hat on the sofa. ''If you don't mind 
my talking to you." 

"Very good, we will have a duo." 

Over the keys her fingers moved, sketching a mel- 
ody, passing from it into another. 

Beside the bench Lennox had drawn the only chair. 
He looked about, then at her. 

"I remember so well the first time I came here." 

Her lips tightened, but, suppressing the smile, she 
turned to him and said and so patiently: 

"Is it a song without words you want, or words 
without song?" 

Lennox leaned toward her. It was then or, it might 
be, never. 

"It is you I want." 

Cassy turned from him. Her fingers, prompted by 
a note, had gone from it into Gounod. 

"Will you marry me?" 

"Certainly not." 

It was as though he had asked her to go skating. 
To mark the absurdity of it her voice mounted. 

''Le printemps chasse les hivers ^' 



312 THE PALISER CASE 

The words are imbecile but the air, which is charm- 
ing, seemed to occupy her wholly. 

''Et sourit dans les arbres verts ''' 

"'I know you don't care for me but couldn't you 
try?" 

''Eh?" Cassy stayed her fingers, reached for a 
score on the top of the upright. ''I thought you 
wanted me to sing." 

"I want to know whether you can't ever care for 
me." 

It sang about her like a flute. Something else was 
singing, not the bird in her throat, for she had hushed 
it, but a bird in her heart. It had been singing ever 
since he had entered the room. It had been singing 
with her the duo of which lightly she had spoken. 
But it was singing too loud. 

Hastily she replaced the score, pulled at another, 
shoved it back. 

''Won't you tell me?" Lennox was asking. 

It will burst, she thought. Sidling from the bench, 
she went to the sofa, looked at it as though she had 
never seen it before, and sat down. 

"Won't you?" he repeated. 

She glanced over at him. Apparently now she was 
calm as you please. 

"People marry out of optimism, or at any rate I 
did. I have had my lesson, thank you." 

Lennox stood up. "You have suffered " 

"I read somewhere," she cut in, "that we have to 
suffer terribly before we learn not to suffer at all." 
Pausing, she added : "I suppose then we are dead." 

She was getting away from it and he rounded on 
her. 

"See here! We have both been in hell, but that's 



THE PALISER CASE 313 

over. Even otherwise, hell would not be hell to me if 
I were in it with you/' 

Thump! Thump! It was worse than ever. None 
the less she looked cool as a cucumber. 

'The prospect is not very tempting. Besides, even 
if it were '' Again she paused, but this time with- 
out getting on with it. 

He came toward her. "Even if it were what?'' 

''Temptation has its dangers. It may lead to cap- 
tivity.'' 

"And you fear that?" 

"For you, yes." 

"For me !" he exclaimed. 

How it thumped ! It thumped so that it hurt, yet 
spartanly she contrived to smile. 

"You or any one. I was speaking generally. Then, 
too, you know, hell may not be all your fancy pic- 
tures it." 

He floundered in it. "What do you mean?" 

"In no time you might get sick to death of me." 

"Never!" 

The denial exploded with such violence that the 
walls fell. Or at least so it seemed to Cassy. It 
seemed to her that the room had become a tent of 
fulgurant colours. They were blinding. She could 
not look at them. How delicious it all was, though! 
In spite of which, she sighed. 

"Well, there is no telling. Some day I may go 
and take a look there." 

With mounting astonishment he repeated it. "Some 
day! But, if you ever will, why not now?" 

Her eyes then were on him. "To find out." 

"Find out what?" 

"How you felt about it." 
"But how could you, if you don't care for me?" 



314 THE PALISER CASE 

"Why do you say that?'' 

"Because you told me so." 

Innocently, with an air of wonder, she took it up. 
"Did I? I don't think so. I am sure I did not. I 
am convinced that I would not have volunteered it and 
I am certain you did not ask." 

*'I asked you a moment ago." 

If I don't make it stop, she thought, it will jump 
out. What shall I do ? 

"And I ask you again," he gravely continued. 

It was in her throat. Try as she might she could 
not choke it back. Out it came. 

"I have never cared for any one else." 

Lennox stared. It was incredible. Like many an- 
other it was incredible to him that he should have 
sought afar for what was at his side. 

But not having finished, she resumed. "And I never 
shall." 

To that there could be but one reply. It was rough 
enough. Cassy did not mind, but she freed herself, 
undulantly, as a woman can. 

Unrebuffably Lennox renewed it. "Let's be mar- 
ried at once." 

„ Cassy smoothed her rumpled hair. "No." The 
monosyllable fell like a stone. 

Lennox kicked it. "In God's name, why not?" 

Cassy turned away. It was the hardest of all. Be- 
side it, what was the gesture of the day before ? 

"Because. Just because." 

"Because why?" 

"Because I could not live to see you regret it." 

"But why should I? I never shall." His hands 
on her shoulders, violently his eyes probed her own. 

She thought him so dear, but she said : "I have not 
cared for any one else. You have. The growth of 



THE PALISER CASE 315 

love is slow. You cannot love me now as I love you/' 

He wanted to shake her and nearly did. ''But 
when you find I do?" 

"Ah, when that day comes, I will." 

''And meanwhile?" 

She just plucked at his sleeve. Nothing could have 
been more yielding. It was yielding as water, and 
yielding still, her eyes fell. 

"For your sake only. Later — if — if " 

Any great astonishment is dumb and, at the moment, 
a whirlwind tossed his thoughts. In the swirling gale 
were sudden pictures ; the girl's fair arms, the delight 
of her lips, his own desire. Tumultuously they passed. 
Before him flew the hazards of life, of death, and, 
curling there, the iniquity of leaving her afterward, as 
leave her he must, alone to face them. The counter- 
blast steadied him. Astonishment may be dumb, love 
is clairvoyant. 

"For your own sake, no. The war cannot last for- 
ever and if I return, then — ^then " 

Shortly, among the Victorian horrors of his gloomy 
rooms, she came to see him off. 

Mrs. Austen, who heard of everything, heard of 
that. "I always knew it !" she exclaimed. The dear 
woman had known nothing of the kind and her per- 
spicacity amazed her. 

But this has nothing to do with the Paliser Case 
which ended before it began.